DNA tests lead police to Gansu 'Ripper'

Updated: 2016-08-29 07:08

By CUI JIA(China Daily)

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DNA tests lead police to Gansu 'Ripper'

Police detain Gao Chengyong, a suspected serial killer, in Baiyin, Gansu province, on Friday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

52-year-old suspected of 11 murders over 15 years is snared in grocery store

Police in Gansu province have captured a suspected serial killer accused of the rape and murder of 11 victims, one of them an 8-year-old girl, in northern China.

Gao Chengyong, 52, was detained on Friday in a grocery store in Baiyin, in which nine of the killings occurred.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, the suspect has confessed to 11 murders in Gansu and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region between 1988 and 2002.

Police allege that Gao targeted young women dressed in red and would follow them home, where he would rape and kill them, often by cutting their throat

The killer also mutilated the victims' bodies, which resulted in the Chinese media dubbing him China's Jack the Ripper.

Reports of the attacks caused such panic that many women in Baiyin would not walk alone in the streets without being accompanied by male friends or relatives.

In December 2004, Baiyin police posted a reward of 200,000 yuan ($30,000) for information leading to an arrest. It was the first time police had linked the crimes.

Detectives concluded that, based on DNA evidence, fingerprints and footprints, they were looking for a man aged 33 to 40.

"The suspect has a sexual perversion and hates women," the police said at the time. "He's reclusive and unsociable, but patient."

In March this year, the ministry's Criminal Investigation Bureau launched a new investigation using the latest technologies to re-examine DNA and biological evidence.

Police eventually linked Gao with the murders and managed to collect his DNA, which was a match for the killer, a source close to the investigation told Beijing News.

Yin Guoxing, a DNA expert, said Gao's detention came after his uncle was put under house arrest in Baiyin over allegations of a minor crime. His DNA was collected and tested, and led police to conclude the killer they had been seeking for 28 years was a relation.

Detectives screened his male relatives and identified Gao, a villager from Lanzhou, the provincial capital, as the prime suspect.

Cui Xiangping, whose sister Cui Jinping was one of the killer's victims, told Beijing News that he had started to believe that the case would never be solved.

His sister was stabbed 22 times before her throat was cut in her home at about 11 am on Nov 30, 1998. Her hands and other parts of her body were never found. She was eventually discovered by her mother.

Cui Xiangping said his mother could not stop crying after hearing the news of Gao's detention. Although 18 years have past, the family has never stopped thinking about his sister, he added.