The family of a missing University of Chicago student is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who may have information leading to his whereabouts.
Diwen Fan, 20, was last seen on May 5 and his family has not been able to contact him since, said lawyers John Z. Huang and Yilun Hu, of law firm Huang & Hu PC. Fan’s parents, who are in China, hired the lawyers to help find Fan.
“As long as he gets home safely, it doesn’t matter what we’ve been through or what we’ve been through,” his mother, Qing Cheng, told the Tribune, using Hu as an interpreter.
Fan completed his freshman year at the University of Chicago remotely from China, Hu said. He was finishing his second year at the U. of C. this year after moving to Chicago in September for school.
Video footage shows Fan at around 5:15 p.m. on May 5 leaving campus on his bicycle, wearing a mask and carrying a full backpack, Huang said.
After being unable to reach him for a few days, his parents called the dorm he was living in, Hu said. A dorm manager knocked on his door and realized he wasn’t there, Hu said.
Fan lived alone and is introverted and didn’t have many friends in Chicago, Hu said.
The family fears he may be suffering from mental illness, the lawyers said.
Fan’s mother described her son as irreplaceable. She has checked her locator app and banking information every day since her disappearance, she said. She hasn’t heard of him.
The family released the following statement along with a flyer that lawyers are helping to circulate around the university:
“Diwen, not everything in the world turns out the way we want it to, so there’s no need to get frustrated with things that are just not in our control. Your parents know you’ve done your best. better in school and they really appreciate all the hard work you have done for yourself and your family. However, life is not just about being enrolled in a good institution or getting a good grade; perseverance , resilience and determination are the qualities we cherish.There is not a single task in your life that cannot be solved, but the key is to always have an optimistic mentality.
“Everyone you know believes in and supports you, especially your family and friends. We all look forward to your safe return, so please get in touch.
Fan’s mother said the family have received numerous phone calls and emails since she went public with the search for their son this week, but have not yet been able to verify leads. .
The University of Chicago is working with law enforcement and Fan’s family, and the university police department is investigating Fan’s disappearance, university spokesman Gerald McSwiggan said in a statement. a statement.
“Our thoughts are with Diwen and her family and we look forward to her safe return,” McSwiggan said.
Huang and Hu also hired a private detective to search for Fan. They believe he may be somewhere between Kansas and Dallas after discovering he may have purchased a Greyhound ticket with an end destination in San Antonio, they said.
It appears Fan did not use the fourth ticket for the final leg of the trip, which would have taken him from Dallas to San Antonio, they said.
Huang said his team was working with a psychiatrist, Dr. Ming Xu, who noted Fan may be suffering from depression and culture shock.
Fan was doing well academically before moving to the United States, Huang said, adding that the language barrier may have affected him as well.
“He was alone in the United States and also suffered culture shock. He is young,” Huang said. “And before coming to the United States, he was growing up mentally.”
His mother says he likes to read, studies biology, and is fascinated by plants and neuroscience.
“I’m desperate to find you,” Cheng said. “No matter what you go through in life, whether you succeed or not, you are still my son. I still love you.”
Fan is approximately 5-foot-8, 154 pounds, has black hair, and was last seen wearing a black backpack with the word “EDISON” on the back.
People with information on Fan’s whereabouts should contact Huang & Hu PC at 312-782-2090 or email [email protected]