On Saturday, Hangzhou police confirmed that Lai Huili was murdered by her husband after he confessed to killing Lai in her sleep and dismembering her body.
Hu Tianjun, deputy director of Hangzhou’s Jianggan police force, told reporters that they had questioned the husband, named Xu Guoli, who eventually confessed to the murder. According to police, Xu said he committed the murder because of family troubles.
Parts of the victim’s body were found after draining the community’s septic tank.
Police started searching for 51-year-old Lai on July 6 after Xu reported that his wife was missing 36 hours after her last appearance. Lai was last seen on surveillance video returning to her home at 5.04pm on July 4.
Over 6,000 hours of surveillance camera footage had been viewed since the investigation started. After confirming that Lai hadn’t wandered outside of her residential complex, police turned their focus inside the complex.
Police said they had searched the residential community’s elevator shafts, water tanks, storage cabinets and ventilation shaft, according to Global Times.
On July 22, weather conditions had improved so police started draining the septic tank – a process which lasted 25 hours.
Image via @南方日报/Weibo
Police washed and carefully examined 38 truckloads of feces, and ended up finding human tissue matching Lai’s DNA.
Later, police learned that the couple’s relatives had deliberately hidden information in previous testimonies.
Image via @暖心人士/Weibo
According to family relatives, the pair were both married to other people when they started seeing each other. They later divorced their respective spouses and got hitched.
Before their marriage, Xu borrowed money from Lai to run a duck business, which earned him RMB700,000-800,000. However, the money was later lost by trading in the stock market. Their financial situation went downhill quickly, with Lai taking up work as a cleaner to earn extra money after their daughter started going to school.
The couple owned two homes that the government subsidized after their previous home was demolished.
Chinese media reports say Xu allegedly wanted to give one of the homes to the daughter he had with his ex-wife, while the daughter Lai had with her ex-husband also wanted the house.
This conflict was allegedly Xu’s motivation to murder his wife.
[Cover image via @小强热线-浙江教科/Weibo]