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Wanted criminal pretends to be deaf and dumb for 20 years to avoid prison

A Chinese man wanted for murder managed to avoid police detection for over 20 years by pretending to be a deaf and dumb scavenger in the mountains of Hubei Province.

On the evening of May 22, 2004, a young and quick-tempered man named Xiao got into a heated argument with a neighbor in his home village of Oumio Daying, in Xianyang’s Xiangcheng District.

At one point, Xiao allegedly picked up a shovel and hit his neighbor over the head with it, killing him on the spot. That night, knowing that he risked spending the rest of his life behind bars or worse, getting the death penalty, Xiao decided to abandon his wife and 11-year-old child to go on the run. He ran into the mountains of Anxi County, in Fujian Province, where he became a scavenger selling scraps to survive. To make sure he never gave anything away about his past life, Xiao pretended to be deaf and mute for the next 20 years, only smiling at people and communicating through gestures.

Time passed, but police never gave up on finding Xiao and bringing him to justice for his crime, and even though the runaway man was very composed, never once contacting his family over the last couple of decades, they still managed to track him down. Last month, police in Anxi took a seemingly deaf and mute scavenger into custody for getting into a fight with some locals, and even though he was released shortly after, he was still processed and his photos ended up in a nationwide database.

Earlier this month, while running Xiao’s old photos against those in the national database, police got a surprising match. A deaf and mute man in Fujian Province showed an uncanny resemblance to the wanted man, so a police force was sent to investigate. Upon finding the suspect, they asked him point blank, “Are you from Xiangcheng District in Xianyang, to which he instantly replied “Yes”.

“I have been holding back my words for 20 years, and I felt that I was going crazy,” a relieved Xiao told the police. “When I left, my son was 11, and now 20 years have passed, I wonder how my family is doing?

Xiao has since been taken back to his home village, and despite being gone for so long, he showed them exactly where he had the altercation with his neighbors on that fateful evening. He will now have to serve the prison time he had been running from for so long.

The people who knew him as a deaf and mute scavengers told police that they had never suspected him of being a criminal on the run. He kept to himself and never talked to anyone, so no one really knew anything about him.

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