Chinese authorities arrested a man who allegedly killed his sleeping wife, cut her into pieces and dumped the body parts in a septic tank. The revelations came after police in Hangzhou, in eastern China, concluded an 18-day search for the victim, Lai Huili, 51, whose husband reported her missing July 6.
Her spouse and alleged killer, Xu Guoli, 55, was arrested July 23, after DNA evidence found in the sewerage later led to a confession, Jia Qinmin, deputy head of the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau, told reporters at a press conference on July 25.
The case drew attention across China after Xu, a delivery driver, actively sought out local media outlets during the investigation and gave a series of interviews to try and strengthen his case that his wife had simply gone missing. As part of that campaign, he made two appearances on Zhejiang Television’s “Xiaoqiang Hotline” on July 15 and 17, during which Xu claimed his wife of 12 years had “disappeared” in the early hours of July 5.
During the interviews, Xu said Lai was “missing when I woke up the next morning. She has never gone missing before. She must have gone out by herself.”
In a statement released by local police on the day of the press conference, the authorities detailed an extensive search lasting nearly three weeks. After combing through 6,000 hours of security footage in the Sanbao Beiyuan gated community where the couple lived, they concluded that she had not left the neighborhood since a closed-circuit camera showed her and her daughter returning home and entering an elevator in her building on July 4.
What followed was a “blanket search” of the Jianggan District neighborhood, including in all six of its residential tower blocks, refuse and storage rooms, underground car parks, elevator shafts, water tanks, manholes, sewers and air ducts, Hangzhou police said. Officers also interviewed more than 1,000 households in the residential district, as well as friends and family.
According to the report, the breakthrough in the case came on July 22, when investigators discovered suspected human remains in a septic tank in the block where the victim lived. Following subsequent questioning, the authorities said Xu admitted to the “premeditated killing” of his wife while she slept July 5.
He dismembered her and discarded pieces of her body in various locations throughout the gated community, the statement said, noting Xu’s motives as “multiple disputes” with his spouse.
The pair married in 2008 and each brought one child from a former relationship before having a third child together, a daughter aged 11.
The investigation into the murder is continuing, Hangzhou police said.
(Edited by Matthew Hall and John Rossomando.)
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