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Silence broken: Fugitive held after 20 years faking mutism

By Xu Zhesheng | | Updated: 2024-05-21 21:47
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A fugitive who remained silent for two decades while posing as a mute vagrant was recently apprehended in Anxi county, Fujian province, according to authorities.

The man, identified by his surname Xiao and originally from Xiangyang, Hubei province, allegedly killed his neighbor in a dispute in 2004.

After fleeing his hometown, Xiao reportedly survived by scavenging and selling scrap materials. He eventually settled in a remote village in Anxi, where he adopted the guise of a mute drifter.

Earlier this month, the now-56-year-old Xiao was detained by police following a fight with locals. It was during this investigation that authorities discovered Xiao's true identity.

Overcome with relief, Xiao reportedly ended his 20-year silence. "I couldn't take it anymore," he confessed to officers. "I haven't spoken with other people in 20 years, I thought I would go crazy."

"Due to his portrayal of being deaf and mute, he rarely communicated with anyone," said Zhang Zhiwei, a police officer from Xiangyang. "People simply greeted him and moved on. This is how he managed to evade detection for so long."

On May 11, Xiao was escorted back to Xiangyang to face charges related to the 2004 incident. He remains in police custody.

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