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'There is no way she would leave the kids'

Parents of missing Burnaby woman speak out about case

The estranged husband of a missing Burnaby mother gave a false statement on her last whereabouts, police revealed during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Sgt. Jennifer Pound, spokeswoman for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said Yating (Lancy) Hu's husband originally told officers he dropped her off at her Burnaby apartment at about 8 p.m. on July 15.

He later changed his story, telling investigators his wife had stayed at the family's Coquitlam residence, in the 2800 block of Nash Drive, that night. She then left on her own the next morning at about 5: 30 a.m., he said.

Pound said they will not go into details on why the husband, who is known as James, recanted his story.

"James is not technically a suspect at this point," she said, adding there is no official suspect list yet.

Pound said the false statement James gave to police "is a concern to the investigators."

Also during Wednesday afternoon's press conference, Hu's parents talked about their missing daughter.

Hu's emotional father, Hu Nu Ming, a police officer in China, said it was totally out of character for his daughter not to keep in touch.

He also revealed that the couple, who were married in 2003, had a separation agreement and his daughter was seeking a divorce.

"She was a victim of domestic dispute a couple of times," Ming said through an interpreter.

Ming said Hu, a loving mother to two boys, aged two and three, would never leave her children.

"She loved the kids very much, and there is no way she would leave the kids," he said.

Hu's mother, Xiao Yaw Yu Yan Yu, pleaded for her daughter's safe return.

"The kids miss her very much," she said. "Please come back."

The parents, who arrived from China shortly after Hu's disappearance in the middle of July, went to their daughter's Burnaby apartment and said it appeared their daughter had been planning meals in advance.

"There were lots of groceries in the house, and we don't believe she left on her own," Ming said. "Something else happened."

Hu's case has taken several twists and turns.

Her case was in the public eye after she was reported missing on July 22 in a Burnaby RCMP press release.

On Aug. 3, Hu's case was transferred to IHIT, with police noting in a press release that "there is reason to suspect that foul play is involved in the disappearance of Hu."

Last week, IHIT put out another release, stating that Hu was last seen in Coquitlam on July 16.

According to Pound, Hu left on foot in an unknown direction and has not been seen or heard from since.

Police believe she may have had a black backpack and an Apple MacBook with her.

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Hu, including anyone who may have found her backpack or the MacBook, is asked to call the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or, if you wish to remain anonymous call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).