For three months, Hu Jinyu’s disappearance gripped China.
The whereabouts of a 15-year-old boy who disappeared from a boarding school in southern Jiangxi province in October has been among the hottest topics on the Chinese internet for months.
This has raised numerous questions, speculations and circular polices Search – with a Joined by thousands of residents Earlier this month.
Then, on Sunday — more than 100 days after Hu went missing — local police said Hu’s body was found in the woods near his school.
A member of the public made the discovery on Thursday. Dressed in matching clothing that Hu was wearing at the time of his disappearance, Police requested to summon his family and their lawyer to the scene.
Shangrao city police said in a statement that the body was confirmed as Hu after DNA tests.
A voice recorder found with the body has been sent for analysis, the statement said.
But instead of bringing closure, the discovery raises more questions about the circumstances surrounding her death.
Hu’s death was a top trending topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on Monday Several hashtags Racking up hundreds of millions of views.
Many comments questioned why an extensive police search – complete with sniffer dogs, drones and thermal imaging equipment – failed to discover the body in an area so close to the school.
China’s National Radio reported that the forest where Hu was found was just a five-minute walk from the school, surrounded by a campus wall about two meters high.
An autopsy has been conducted, but the results have not been released, according to The Paper, a state news website.
Disappearances of children and teenagers are not uncommon in China, but Hu’s disappearance is one of the most high-profile cases in recent years. According to the Zhongmin Social Assistance Institute, a Beijing-based non-profit organization, A million people Disappeared in China in 2020 – an average of 2,739 per day.
On Chinese social media, some questioned why, in a country known for ubiquitous security cameras and high-tech surveillance, a 15-year-old boy could disappear seemingly without a trace.
Hu had just started attending Zhiyuan High School, a private boarding school in Yanshan County where he was admitted on a scholarship in September, when he suddenly disappeared.
Security camera footage showed him walking down a hallway from his bedroom on the evening of Oct. 14, about 15 minutes before an evening study session began in the classroom, police said.
According to state media reports, Hu disappeared somewhere between the dormitory and the education building, an area not covered by security cameras.
Hu’s family was notified of Hu’s disappearance from the school about six hours later, the family said in a missing person notice. Hu left his smartwatch and cash in the dorm, along with only a digital voice recorder and a school card used to pay for meals on campus, according to the release.
Hu’s parents could not be reached by phone on Monday.
As investigations and inquiries failed to lead to any breakthrough, baseless speculations spread online, The depth of public distrust Within local authorities.
In response, police released a detailed statement on January 7 clarifying that they had found no evidence that Hu was murdered, or involved in an accident inside the school. Police said Hu may have left the campus on his own.
The statement detailed a massive police search effort covering nearly 40 hectares of forest land, 200 km of river, 22 km of railway track and 72 ponds and 3 reservoirs near the school.
The search continued after January 7, involving thousands of people, including local residents who volunteered, state media reported at the time.
On Sunday, the website of the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily published a Opinion piece Local authorities are being urged to address public concerns over why they have failed to find Hu’s body for more than 100 days.
It urged the public to be patient for the official results.
“The Hu Jinyu incident has attracted the attention of the whole country. No one dares to fake anything and no one can fake it,” the article said. “If something goes wrong, the consequences will be dire.”
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