A young girl reported missing from Zhejiang province has been found dead, police have confirmed, ending a massive weeklong search that drew national attention.
Nine-year-old Zhang Zixin had been taken away from her grandparents’ home on the outskirts of Hangzhou by two tenants living at the family’s property on July 4, according to a statement by local authorities Sunday. The two tenants, a man surnamed Liang and a woman surnamed Xie, had claimed they wanted to take the girl to a wedding in Shanghai.
But, investigators found, Liang and Xie took Zhang to multiple southern Chinese cities before returning to Ningbo in Zhejiang province, where security video footage showed that Liang and Xie killed themselves on July 8 by jumping into a lake. On the same day, Zhang’s grandmother reported the disappearance of her granddaughter. Zhang’s body was eventually found in the sea off the coast of Ningbo on Saturday.
Liang and Xie were suspected of killing Zhang, who appeared to have been pushed into the water and drowned, police said in an interview with official public security newspaper Peace Times. It’s unclear what Liang and Xie’s motives were. Over 500 law enforcement officers across seven Chinese cities had been involved in the search for Zhang, police said.
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Contact reporter Teng Jing Xuan (firstname.lastname@example.org)