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Wu's son: 'If they had just told me that he missed one day of class, I would have been very alarmed'

Posted at 7:37 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 20:39:26-04

KINGSVILLE, Texas — Wan-Hong “DiDi” Wu had traveled four hours from his Magnolia home to Kingsville after he got a call that his father had not shown up to work for three days.

It caught him off-guard, Wan-Hong said.

For Hueytzen Wu, 74, who was an Texas A&M-Kingsville mathematics professor, that just wasn’t who he was, his son said.

“If they had just told me that he missed one day of class, I would have been very alarmed,” Wan-Hong said. “My dad — he was a cancer survivor, and that’s the only time that he actually missed any class is when he had to have surgery and get chemo. Even then, he tried to still teach.”

The Cameron County Sheriff’s Department is now investigating Wu’s death. Capt. Javier Reyna said there are no suspicions of foul play. Autopsy results are still pending.

Wu’s body was found at the mouth of a river at Boca Chica Beach by a drone around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, right at the U.S.-Mexico border.

His body was a mile-and-a-half away from his vehicle, Reyna said, and he had been walking through rugged terrain near the SpaceX South Texas launch site.

“He probably got disoriented or something,” Reyna said. “He saw the lights.”

Wu didn’t show up to A&M-Kingsville on Oct. 2, Monday, nor the following Tuesday. Wan-Hong was informed of his father’s absence on Tuesday. That’s when his family went to the Kingsville Police Department.

Wan-Hong said he wishes someone could have told him sooner.

Making the search for Dr. Wu even more challenging was that the situation didn’t meet the criteria for a Silver Alert to be issued, as Wu didn’t have any diagnosed life-threatening or mental-health issues aside that would have triggered such a response. Wu's only health issue was diabetes.

“It is a little frustrating,” Wan-Hong said. “I was hoping that it would be on those amber signs, because I think that it would have gotten to more people faster.”

Around the time of his disappearance, the Kingsville Police Department said in a news release that a large sum of money had been withdrawn from Dr. Wu's account. The department still is trying to determine whether that withdrawal was made with any criminal intent.

Thursday afternoon, Wu’s wife and son were going through his belongings at his office.

“He was a great professor,” Wan-Hong said. “I just hope that everybody has great fun memories of my dad — that’s all I have to say.”