08/07/2014 00:56 EDT | Updated 10/06/2014 05:59 EDT

Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt's son trying to contact his parents

Earlier this week, 21-year-old Peter Garratt learned that his parents, Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt, had been detained by Chinese authorities and are currently under investigation for theft of state secrets.

As daily life in Dandong – a city that borders North Korea and is home to a coffee shop the Garratt’s opened several years ago – continues as usual, Peter and his siblings have been forced to try to piece together the bizarre tale of how their parents wound up in such a precarious position.

The CBC’s Andrew Lee spoke with Peter Garratt on Wednesday about how his parents are doing, and what’s next for the family struggling to navigate China's enigmatic state legal system.