Sombath Somphone case

Woman asks Obama: What happened to my husband?

Forty-one years later, their paths converged again, in a way. Obama this week became the first sitting US president to visit Laos. Sombath, meanwhile, has vanished -- stopped on a street in this sleepy Mekong outpost in 2012, stuffed into a pick-up truck, and never heard from again.

Lao authorities have remained silent on the teacher and activist's disappearance, drawing the concern of human rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Those organizations pressed Obama ahead of his trip here to raise Sombath's case with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith.