In a statement released on Sunday, Zhejiang Provincial Police confirmed that the missing girl Zhang Zixin had drowned in waters off Xiangshan County. They said that her body showed no signs of violence, but excluded her death as an accident.
Millions of people across China had been seized by the case and had followed developments closely as search parties had spent days trying to find the second pair of glasses -grader with a long ponytail in waters and caves along the coast.
The girl's ID card was found last Wednesday evening in a pavilion near the coast.
Zhang was last seen a little over a week ago A witness saw her driving with a middle-aged couple on a street near the search area around 8 pm on 7 July.
According to the police, the couple rented rooms in their family's home in Chun's rural district, about 1
When the two adults were seen again on surveillance cameras two hours later, the girl was not with them. The police said the man and woman, both from southern Guangdong Province, later drowned in a nearby lake later that night.
In their latest statement, the police said the 43-year-old man surnamed Liang and 45 – The one-year-old woman surnamed Xie had been cheating with family and friends for years and no longer had cash after traveling extensively through China ,
The police said the couple have increasingly thrown away their personal belongings in recent months Analysis of their social media posts pointed to the desire to commit suicide with Zhang as a symbolic goddaughter.
In an interview with mass circulating daily Dushi Kuaibao, a state-run Zhang newspaper from Zhejiang Jun said the couple had brought their older farm parents, who were Zixin's chief caregivers, to take the girl with them while he was in a northern Chinese town worked a distance of hundreds of kilometers.
In the interview, Zhang Jun said the nightmare began when Liang and Xie told him on July 3 that they wanted to make Zixin a flower girl at a wedding in Shanghai. Despite his objections, Zhang said the couple took the girl the next morning.
Zhang Jun said he could stay in touch with Liang for three days via WeChat, China's most popular social media platform. Liang promised to bring the girl home in late July and told the father that everything seemed "normal" in the beginning.
In footage that Liang sent to Zhang Jun, whom he later shared with others. Zixin is shown visiting tourist attractions with the two suspects and watching videos on the phone in one go. The girl looked relaxed and answered Liang's questions with a smile. Her voice in audio messages also sounded relaxed.
But Zhang was concerned that none of the sites were near Shanghai.
After Zhang Jun became increasingly suspicious, he finally took a night train home on July 6. When she came to Zixin for the last time on July 7, she said she sounded calm and told him she was in the north of Xiangshan, a district south of Shanghai, had begun to look more threatening. Liang had declined the father's offer to drive to her home to pick up Zixin, but agreed that he would pay for a cab, according to Zhang Jun, to take her back to Zixin's home. Shortly after, Liang switched off his phone.
Zhang's family reported her missing to the local police on Monday morning and put the girl's and Liang's information online the next day. After the police confirmed the death of the two adults, Zixin's fate became a nationwide affair.
Throughout Chinese cyberspace, there have been numerous conspiracy theories, and some commentators wonder aloud if Liang and Xie were members of a cult based on certain images and seemingly odd content posted by Liang.
The Zhejiang police rejected the speculation and said Sunday that the two suspects had no criminal record and had not engaged in cult activities. None of them consumed alcohol or drugs until they killed themselves.
CNN has asked Zhang Jun for a comment. His brother-in-law told the Beijing News on Sunday that the family had "some rest" and did not want to make any interview requests for the time being.
"Although this result is not the miracle we were hoping for" It's better than not finding the girl's body, "he was quoted as saying.