In October of that year, Cheng disappeared. His friends, including the pastor at the church he was working at, called the police, but they found no clues and eventually gave up searching. Around four years later, the police were called to the church because the pastor heard a huge bang in the attic. When the police entered a section of the attic, it was apparent that someone had been living there and they eventually found Cheng crouched above them in the rafters.
For four years the attic of the church had been his home. He'd walk around the church at night and skipped rope to stay in shape. He ate small amounts of food from the kitchen, so they wouldn't notice any was gone. The police were shocked at what good physical shape he was in. He told the police that he was ashamed at failing in school and didn't want to be sent home to face his family. Of course, when his family found out he was alive, they didn’t care a thing about his academics or what he had done to them in disappearing, they were just elated he was still alive.
The policemen who found Cheng were very fond of him and they worked with local businesses to start a fund to help him finish his education. The university permitted Cheng to resume his studies, and he eventually graduated in 1961 and later went on to earn his master’s degree. Cheng eventually returned to Singapore and became a success story and his son is now one of Singapore's most prominent citizens serving in Defense and Homeland Security.