Police probe death of 'missing' boy in care
Police have launched an investigation into the death of a mentally disabled teenage boy who spent six months in a shelter for homeless after going missing from his home in Xinyang, central China's Henan Province.
Wang Zhiqiang, 13, left his home on October 2 last year, his father Wang Xinhong was quoted as saying by The Beijing News yesterday.
Despite reporting the matter to police two days later, the family never again saw the boy alive.
On April 20, the father saw an obituary for a young boy published by the Xinyang rescue center.
The accompanying photograph reminded him of his missing son, so he went to the funeral home to check, the report said.
The obituary said only that the teenager had been living at the center and that he had died "from illness" at the Xinyang No. 1 People's Hospital on April 18, the newspaper said.
"He was nothing but skin and bone, and had scars all over his body," the unnamed father was quoted as saying.
"He was a healthy 45 kilograms when he left home, but he'd shrunk to just 15kg," he said.
"I want to know what really happened to him," he said.
The father accused the shelter of not trying to find the boy's family.
"He was mentally disabled, but he could recognize his family and knew his home address," he said.
The Xinyang Civil Affairs Bureau said in a statement published yesterday that the authorities had fulfilled their duty to take care of the boy, and had not abused him.
It accused the boy's family of physically assaulting three workers at the rescue center.
Police found the boy wandering the streets on October 3 and sent him to the rescue center, the statement said.
Officials there said the child was "severely retarded" and couldn't tell them where he lived, so they put him in a home for the elderly, it said.
On March 31, the boy was found to be sick and was sent to hospital, where he was diagnosed with malnutrition and organ failure, the statement said.
On April 18, he fell into a coma and died.