A Chinese female serial killer who killed seven people, including a 3-year-old girl, has finally been arrested after evading authorities for 20 years.
Lao Rongzhi, the 45-year-old suspect, has been on the run from the authorities for over two decades.
She had been living under a false identity since her escape after her boyfriend, Fa Ziying, was arrested in Hefei, Anhui province, China in July 1999, according to South China Morning Post.
Lao was arrested in a shopping center where she worked selling watches in Xiamen, Fujian province as part of Operation Cloud Sword, a national operation targeting fraudsters and fugitives, the police said on Friday. However, authorities did not elaborate on how they managed to find her.
The suspect, who previously worked as a primary school teacher, was only 19 when she first met Fa. Her boyfriend had already served eight years in jail for armed robbery. She soon left her job as a teacher and was accused of committing a series of crimes over a span of three years.
Lao posed as a prostitute and lured their first target, a man with a surname of Xiong, to an address in Nanchang in Jiangxi province in 1996, the police said. They then robbed him of his jewelry and forced him to reveal his address before killing the man.
After learning of his home address, Lao and Fa went on to kill the man’s wife and 3-year-old daughter before getting away with 200,000 yuan ($28,400).
Lao and Fa were then accused of kidnapping, stealing, and killing two prostitutes the following year. Then, in 1999, the couple moved to Hefei, Anhui province where two more people were killed.
They built a cage where they kept their victim, named Yin, and held him for ransom. They then tricked a carpenter into visiting the property. Lao and Fa killed the man in front of Yin to intimidate and force him to hand over 300,000 yuan ($42,525) of ransom money.
The couple were successful in their intimidation and when Fa was about to collect the money from Yin’s wife, she was able to contact the police and had Fa cornered. He was wounded in the thigh during a shoot-out and was arrested.
However, Yin was already dead and Lao managed to cover her tracks and escape.
Speaking to the Chongqing Morning Post on Sunday, Fa’s defense lawyer Yu Xi said, “his refusal to cooperate and his cover-up provided time for Lao to escape.”
Yu said his client always killed his victims, but the only time he felt like he was “committing a sin” was when he killed the 3-year-old girl.
“He told me his best ending would be to go straight from the crime scene to the execution site,” Yu said when Fa refused to accept any defense during his trial.
He eventually confessed to kidnapping and killing seven people and was executed in December 1999 at the age of 35.
Meanwhile, Lao was transferred to custody in Nanchang, the first site where they killed three people. She was expected to go on trial there.
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