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Rush to find a lost woman ends sadly

By Shi Xiaofeng in Hangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-22 07:28

A lost elderly woman with cancer who didn't want to burden her children, was found dead on Saturday morning in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, after her son sought help on social media to find her.

Dai Jinxiu, 70, had been living with her daughter in Wenzhou. Her two sons lived elsewhere.

She was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in April and had undergone treatment in Shanghai, Tu Huanyu, the younger son, was quoted as saying on 66wz.com, the city's largest news website.

"She said she was unhappy and refused more medical treatment," Tu said.

On Wednesday morning, Dai went to see a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine with her daughter, and afterward asked to go to an opera house to relax by herself. She didn't return home.

The daughter later found a two-page letter at home.

"Your careful nursing has put me under great pressure. I don't want to be a burden on you. I want to do it in my own way," Dai wrote, apparently contemplating suicide.

The family called the police. But there was no progress in the search until Tu posted the story online on Thursday afternoon.

A WeChat search group was set up to coordinate police officers, reporters, rescue groups and family members.

"Many news websites linked to our page, and the public was highly concerned. That drove both official and civilian rescue forces," said Ye Shuanglian, deputy news director at 66wz.com.

A breakthrough came at 8:40 pm on Thursday. Dai had been recorded by a camera as she got on a bus on Wednesday morning. She was then spotted in other recordings, and the police traced her route.

Several civilian rescue teams were sent to scour mountain and lake areas. Hundreds of residents also volunteered.

At 10:30 am on Saturday, Dai's body was found in brush at an abandoned automobile salvage yard. The exact cause of death is yet to be announced by forensic experts.

Dai's family was grateful, despite the sad outcome.

"I want to say thanks to everyone who helped us," said Tu, the son.

"We've done many reports about elderly people who got lost, and we've helped families find them. But this story is one of the hardest because it triggered the hidden and painful experience of many Chinese families," said Ye of 66wz.com.

"Many traditional Chinese parents took on the responsibility to raise their children, but they don't want the children to do anything for them. Such one-way devotion is a typical Chinese style," she said.

"We appeal for more care for elderly parents, both economically and mentally."

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