Missing Woman in Hangzhou Found Dead After 18 Days

By Edyth Liu, July 24, 2020

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A 53-year-old woman, named Lai Huili, has been found dead after her disappearance 18 days ago.

Local police in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, announced on Thursday night that her husband has been taken into custody for questioning, according to Global Times

A statement by the police didn’t specify whether Lai’s body had been recovered, but some have speculated that the body was found after a vacuum truck was allegedly spotted on Thursday near the residential area where she lived. 

In the early hours of the morning on July 5, Lai mysteriously disappeared from her home in Hangzhou. The case was peculiar as she was not spotted on any security cameras in the vicinity and as a result the the Hangzhou police force formed a special investigation team.

Missing person posters for Lai were put up at the entrance of her residential area and inside elevators. When she went missing, she was wearing a pair of black shoes and coffee-colored pajamas. 

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Image via @何谓意识/Weibo

After the family rummaged through Lai’s belongings, they found that Lai had not taken her wallet, ID card, mobile phone, keys or coat.

Lai’s husband previously told the media that he had awoken at 12.30am to go to the washroom and had seen Lai asleep in the room. However, when he woke up again at 5.30am he found that Lai had disappeared.

On July 6, the husband received a phone call from his wife’s employer and learned that she had not gone to work that day, prompting him to call the police. 

Chinese netizens were quick to point out that waiting 36 hours before calling the police was suspicious.

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Lai’s husband. Image via @新浪新闻/Weibo

Lai’s sister-in-law said that, after she disappeared, her family checked all the surveillance videos in the neighborhood but found no sign of her. The police also searched the sewers, pipe wells, underground parking lot, roof and other areas where surveillance cameras may have caught a glimpse of her, but still found no clues.

According to local media reports, experts visited the site and found that there was a dark passageway without lights on the ground floor, which would allow Lai to exit the building without being seen by cameras.

Lai worked as a janitor at an accounting firm, and – according to her sister-in-law – was a very nice person who was never confrontational.

Local police said that the case is still being investigated.

[Cover image via @何谓意识/Weibo]

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