WUQIAO, Hebei -- A man in north China's Hebei Province murdered four people out of suspicion that the son of one of the victims had an affair with his runaway wife, local police said on Tuesday.
The dead included Zhou Changshun, 61, his wife Guo Jinfeng, 60, their pregnant daughter-in-law Xu Juanjuan, 30, and their three-year-old grandson Zhou Zhenqi in Fanzhuang Village, Tiecheng Township of Wuqiao County, said Jiao Jianli, vice head of the Wuqiao Public Security Bureau.
Three were killed at the scene and Zhou Zhenqi died in the hospital.
The killing spree occurred around 8 a.m. on February 12, when villager Fan Xincheng hacked the four people with an ax and a kitchen knife. Fan was seized by local police soon after the murder.
In his confession, Fan said he had suspected that his wife had run away with Zhou Changshun's son Zhou Weiguo, who is now working in the neighboring Tianjin Municipality.
Fan's wife Chen Huanxin left home in 2002 and her whereabouts are unknown.
A report from Yanzhao Metropolitan News, a Hebei-based newspaper, suggested that the killing may be a revenge linked to an unjust election as was claimed by the victims' relatives.
"We believe the murder is connected with the election of the villagers' representatives recently," Zhou Weidong, a relative with the killed told the newspaper.
He said the villagers' representatives had not actually gone through proper election procedures. "The so-called election was manipulated by Fan's family."
Zhou said his uncle Zhou Changshun had led him and several other villagers to the township government on February 9 to complain about the unjust election.
"So we believe someone behind the scenes provoked Fan to commit the murder for revenge," Zhou was quoted as saying.
A local official, however, denied the report.
"Judging from Fan's motives, the case has nothing to do with the election," said Yu Hongda, an official with Wuqiao County.