17 young people disappear in Yunnan, police fear a serial killer
The Chonqing Economic Times is a newspaper under the Chongqing Daily Press Group with a circulation of around 630,000 copies per day. Today the front page announces a new round of economic stimuli to promote stable growth in China. According to the article, the State Council has decided to launch 11 new stimulus initiatives to deal with the recent economic slowdown. Meanwhile, the featured picture shows three parents: One is holding a home-made sign about their missing children. The headline reads: “In Jinning County, Yunnan Province, 17 people have disappeared – there may be a serial killer.”
The article reports that both the local Jinning Public Security Bureau Chief, and the deputy magistrate have been fired over the missing persons cases. The first person to go missing seems to have been Han Yao, a 19-year-old who went missing near the north gate of Jinning County on April 25. Thereafter, 8 other young people went missing in the same area in quick succession: one was 12 years old; the others were all just over the age of 16. This caused public panic, and resulted in a joint task force by the Kunming Public Security Bureau and the Jinning Country Public Security Bureau.
Aside from the relative youth of the victims, they do not seem to have much in common. Moreover, their family members all say that they did not run away, did not own any major property that could tempt anyone, nor did any of them have any major inter-personal conflicts, all of which are common features of missing-persons cases.
The article features a jumbled timeline of how the suspected-serial-killer case unfolded. Han Yao went missing in April and was found dead sometime in early May, and confirmed to have been killed on May 9 at 9:00 pm. At that point, the police also arrested a suspect: a 56-year-old man called Zhang Yongming, who was found in possession of Han Yao’s cell phone, bank cards and related documents. They also found evidence of the killing.
While it is unclear from the body of the text where this number comes from, the title suggests the number of missing-persons has now risen from the 9 mentioned in the article, to 17.