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From Hangzhou Daily:
May 14, 2010 Wuhan, an electronics repairman found a paper note inside of a TV. It read “Help! I am locked up underground for over a year”, and with the address of the location. After reporting to the police, they found 2 girls being locked up in the basement of a home. Two girls’ feet were locked with metal chains, wearing no clothes, and one of them had been missing for nearly a year. When the girls were rescued, the suspect has already been detained for over a week on suspicion of rape.
“Is your daughter missing?” on May 14, 2010, at noon, Mr. Zhou of Qingshan District in Wuhan received a phone call. The caller claimed his surname was Du. Mr. Zhou was surprised by the phone call because his daughter went missing since July of last year.
“She had a boyfriend. We thought she stayed over at her boyfriends. But when we asked him, the boyfriend said he never saw her.” Mr. Zhou’s brother recalled, after his niece went missing, family members looked for her everywhere but she never turned up, so they reported it to the police. Since then, she was never found.
May 18, Mr. Du told the reporter, on May 14, when his friend opened up a television set at a local electronic repair shop, they found a written note inside of it.
The note was folded many times, and it read “Help! I have been locked up underground for over a year”. Mr. du said the note also had a hand drawing of a map, marked the victim’s location. In addition, the note had victim’s father’s phone number and address and the name of the suspect who locked her up.
Mr. Du said his friend didn’t think of anything, thought it was prank set up by the repairman and was going to throw away the paper. The note had names and a map, Mr. Du though the information might be true, so he kept the note.
“Opened up the paper, it was the size of a palm, looked like it was ripped off from a notebook. The letters were very small, only the two characters “Help” were slightly bigger.” Mr. Du said.
After he went home, when Mr. Du was debating whether he should call the number or not, his son got home from school and complained about being bullied on his way back and no one helped him on the street , he was angry.
“I was discussing this with my son, should we help? The Child said we should.” Convinced by his son, Mr. Du called Zhou family and then they called the police.
Mr. Zhou’s brother said, his niece wrote on the note, she was locked up in a home 200 meters away from her house. The person locked her up is named Zhen Xiangbao. Based on the information on the note, Mr. Zhou and police officers found Zhen’s house. However Zhen Xiangbao was already arrested a week ago as a rape suspect.
Police searched the 2 story house but did not find the girl. Mr. Zhou’s brother said when Zhen built his house they dug a pit under the foundation, but police could not find the basement entrance after searching repeatedly.
“The Police asked my brother to get a shovel to get ready to dig. When he brought over the shovel, the police had already found the entrance.” Mr. Zhou’s brother said, the basement was under Zhen’s room, covered by a wooden board, the wooden board was covered by dirt and some foam, must take a ladder to get to the bottom, before entering the basement, he heard one police officer shouted from below “There is another person.” Two girls, wearing no clothes and their feet locked up with steel chains.
The police cut the metal chains off their feet and rescued the two girls. Other than Mr. Zhou’s daughter, the other girl was only 16 years old, and her home was a few kilometers away.
Suspect Zhen Xiangbao left some instant noodles, a hot water pot and an electric boiler for boiling water in the basement. After Zhen was arrested for over a week, two girls stayed alive by eating instant noodles.
Mr. Zhou’s brother said he helped Zhen’s brother building his house, but the two families are not close, “we only nod and say hello when we bump into each other.”
According to reports, Zhen Xiangbao, 39 years old, since the divorce last year had become very quiet, and worked in a nearby kiln factory. His house was built two years ago and he used to live with 70 year old mother.
“If wasn’t for Mr. Du’s phone call, these two girls would have been starved to death.” Mr. Zhou’s brother said, his niece had tried many times to sneak notes out for help in the empty bags of instant noodles or bread but they were always found by Zhen.
Mr. Zhou said he only saw his daughter two or three times since the rescue, first time was in the hospital, then couple times in the police car. His daughter did not look thin but was very pale.
“Not in a good mood, I drank in the afternoon, kind of drunk.” Mr. Zhou said, his daughter still hasn’t return home yet.
On May 18, Wuhan Gangcheng Public Security Bureau confirmed the case is currently under investigation but was not willing to disclose details of the case. Police station officer on duty also declined the interview. The rescued girls are now under the police’s protection.
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