Man reunites with missing daughter after decades-long search

A father's relentless search for his daughter

Last Updated Apr 9, 2018 7:13 PM EDT

SHANGHAI -- For the past 24 years, Wang Mingqing has been searching for someone he lost at his roadside fruit stand.

"We were selling bananas here," he explained. "We turned around to ask for change. When we turned back, our little girl was missing."

His little girl Qifeng was just 3 years old. Over the decades, Wang never stopped looking for her. He even became a cab driver in Chengdu so he could spread the word by handing out her picture to more than 10,000 strangers.

The odds of finding one person in a country of 1.4 billion people were not good. But then a sketch was made of what the missing girl would look like as an adult. A woman, now living in northern China, saw it and thought it looked a lot like her.

A DNA test showed that the woman, now 28 years old and known as Kang Ying, was his long-lost child. She had been adopted by another family who found her alone on a roadside in 1994. She grew up just 12 miles from home.

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Kang Ying CBS News

She arrived in Chengdu last week with a bouquet of flowers and a crush of cameras. But when she was reunited with her biological parents, nobody else seemed to exist.

"I am so happy," Kang Ying says. "I couldn't have imagined the people in my dreams would suddenly come to me."

A sudden moment, 24 years in the making, thanks to a father who never gave up on his little girl.