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Missing schoolboy who was found dead committed suicide, police say

By CUI JIA | | Updated: 2023-02-02 23:44
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A 15-year-old student who went missing in October from a residential school in Yanshan county, Jiangxi province, committed suicide and left behind audio clips about his death wish in a digital voice recorder, police said on Thursday.

Hu Xinyu's highly decomposed body was found in a wooded area within a grain depot, not far from the school, by an employee of the depot on Saturday, more than 100 days after he disappeared.

Hu Mansong, deputy director of the Jiangxi Public Security Bureau and head of the investigation team, said the boy hanged himself from a tree in the woods using shoelaces. There were no signs of struggle at the scene, and the possibility of a homicide was ruled out following the release of the autopsy report, the deputy director added.

Hu Xinyu, who attended Zhiyuan Senior High School in the county in Shangrao city, was reported missing on Oct 14. According to video footage provided by the school, he was last seen in the school's dormitory.

The digital voice recorder found near the student's body had at least two audio clips indicating his death wish, both recorded on Oct 14 — one at 5:40 pm and the other at 11:08 pm. It appears that he taped his voice as he made attempts to take his own life, Hu Mansong said at a news conference.

"As I actually stand up here, I feel nervous. My heart is pounding. What will happen if I really jump?" the officer quoted from the first audio clip and said that the teenager probably considered jumping off the fifth floor of the dormitory.

In the second audio clip, Hu Xinyu is heard saying, "It's all meaningless. It's almost midnight and I will just wait a bit to die. My mind is clouded today and I just want to die now. I feel, it's all meaningless."

According to police, the boy faced difficulties adjusting to the life at the school. He had trouble sleeping and suffered from memory loss, Hu Mansong said.

Xu Tianyi, deputy director of Shangrao Public Security Bureau, said that the student, who enrolled at the school in September last year, often jotted his thoughts in notebooks, most of which were negative and veered between how hard adjusting to a new environment was and how it was harder for an introverted person like him.

"On Sept 27, Hu Xinyu phoned his mother three times. He cried, and told her he wanted to quit school and come home. On Oct 14, he took the digital voice recorder to the fifth-floor balcony twice after dinner; he obviously had a suicidal tendency," Xu said.

Chen Ke, director of Yanshan Education Bureau, said the incident was sad and "psychological crisis intervention" had been carried out at the school. Counselling is available for other students in the county, Chen added.

"The incident has alerted us about the importance of students' mental health issues, which require the attention of the school, families and society," Chen said.

The student's disappearance has been a much-talked-about case in China. After his body was found at a place only 400 meters from the school campus, people began questioning why the police had failed to find him sooner.

Hu Mansong said the police searched the grain depot four times in October and November, but failed to thoroughly search the wooded area within the grain depot boundary. Police have learned a lesson from the mistake and will improve their work, he said.

He urged people not to believe in rumors being spread online about the case, including those suggesting that the boy did not die where his body was found and that his body was moved into the woods after his death.

Some people who spread rumors and misled the public have been dealt with in accordance with the law, he added.

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