ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The wife of a University of Michigan doctoral student who went missing after a plane crash in Canada wants a judge to declare him dead, according to recently filed court documents.
Surong Ruan filed a petition in Michigan’s Washtenaw County saying she doesn’t believe her husband, Xin Rong, is alive, The Detroit Free Press reported . Rong, a 27-year-old certified pilot, was a doctoral student from China studying artificial intelligence when he went missing in March.
Investigators have said Rong rented an airplane from an airport in Ann Arbor on March 15, with the charted destination of Harbor Springs, Michigan, which is about 270 miles (435 kilometers) north. Authorities were notified that the plane didn’t return and later discovered it had crashed in a densely wooded area in Ontario.
Authorities said Rong wasn’t with the wreckage, and there weren’t any footprints in the snow or any fuel in the plane. An Ontario Provincial Police spokesman said authorities believe Rong jumped from the plane during the flight.
The petition filed by Ruan notes that “ground searches were negative,” no parachute or life vests were on the plane, and the aircraft was cruising at an altitude of around 9,000 feet (2,743 meters). Ruan said in the petition: “I believe Xin Rong exited the aircraft and didn’t have a chance of being alive.”
Court documents indicate Ruan is seeking a death declaration as she cares for Rong’s property and deals with insurance companies. Ruan lives in San Francisco, and Rong’s parents live in China.
“I cannot address some of these matters until there is a declaration that he is deceased,” Ruan wrote.
A hearing on the petition is scheduled for next month.
The investigation into the plane crash remains open, according to Diane Brown, a spokeswoman with the university’s Division of Public Safety and Security.
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com