Chinese prosecutors name suspects in death of school building site supervisor who vanished 16 years ago

Alice Yan

Prosecutors in central China have named two suspects in the death and disappearance of a school building site supervisor 16 years ago.

In June, the remains of Deng Shiping were dug up from a playing field at Xinhuang No 1 Middle School in Huaihua, a city in Hunan province, after a tip from a suspect. DNA tests showed the remains were Deng’s.

Prosecutors were given police documents naming Du Shaoping and Yao Cailin as suspects in an intentional homicide, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Friday, citing a legal notice given to the victim’s family.

Before his disappearance, Deng, 53, a teacher assigned to oversee the project, wrote to the education authority alleging that the work – led by Du – used fewer materials than it needed, leading to a poor job.

Papers belonging to Deng Shiping, who vanished more than 16 years ago. Photo: Weibo

Du is the nephew of school principal Huang Bingsong, who was questioned in June after Du told police where Deng was buried, The Paper said.

Yao was Du’s foreman. They were detained in April after the dead man’s son, Deng Lanbing, went back to police with his family’s suspicions about the disappearance.

Deng Shiping’s daughter – who was identified as Deng Ling – said after that her father went missing her family spoke to police about Du but inquiries revealed nothing.

Chinese man closes in on justice for ‘murdered’ dad as police find remains buried under playground

She said they guessed their father was buried beneath the playing field and even thought of hiring an excavator to help look for his body.

“The playground is too big and we will find nothing if we dig in only one place,” she was quoted as saying. “We couldn’t afford to dig the whole area.”

Deng Ling was there when her father’s remains were dug up.

Deng Shiping’s children’s suspicions about their father’s disappearance became certainty in June. Photo: Weibo

“They pulled out several stones, and then I saw my father’s skull in the bucket,” she was quoted as saying. “I completely collapsed and cried for hours.”

Deng Ling said police recovered her father’s skeleton and sent it for examination. She said she had heard that scraps of his trousers were also found.

Deng Lanbing, who was 15 in 2003, wrote about his father’s death on social media. His family left town for fear of “being persecuted for the second time”, he told followers on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service.

“I am more eager than anybody else to know the truth [of his father’s case],” he said.

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A former colleague of Deng Shiping told The Paper he was always honest and “dared to speak the truth”. He said Deng had voiced misgivings about the playing fields several times.

“A person who dares to tell the truth should not deserve this ending,” he said.

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