Yuan Wang was just 12 years old when she was last seen in 1998, getting off a school bus near her Alexandria foster home.
Wang, a Chinese citizen whose parents had paid a smuggler to send her to the United States, had been living in foster care for six weeks when she disappeared, according to information from the Charley Project, an online database of cold cases. She and her smuggler had been detained upon entering the country at Washington Dulles International Airport on Aug. 25, 1998. The smuggler was eventually arrested; Wang was sent into foster care with an Alexandria family and began attending the seventh grade at Holmes Middle School. She was the only Mandarin-speaking student there.
Wang was last seen leaving a school bus at Lincolnia Road and Deming Avenue on Oct. 21, 1998, about 3 p.m. She was scheduled to take a taxi to a doctor's appointment at 3:30 p.m., but never caught the cab, never showed up at the doctor's office and never returned to her foster home. According to information from the Charley Project, she wasn't familiar with her neighborhood, but a search of the area turned up no clues.
When Wang, now 25, disappeared, she was wearing a white T-shirt, a blue denim jacket, jeans and white sneakers. She has black hair, black eyes and stood 5-foot-6 at the time of her disappearance, weighing 118 pounds.
Wang's immediate family still lives in China. According to the Charley Project, investigators believe she was abducted or ran away out of fear she would be deported. Anyone with any information on the case is asked to call Fairfax County police at 703-691-2391.