Murder suspect found dead of apparent suicide: case details emerge

A man suspected of murdering a woman in Taipei City before dismembering and disposing of her corpse was found dead in a residence in Keelung City, Sunday evening, and is believed to have committed suicide, rather than face a lengthy prison sentence.

Police went on the hunt for Lin Guo-ping (林國平), 45, after the remains of a 26-year-old female Malaysian national, Ms Deng (鄧), were found Saturday, January 11, during an investigation into her disappearance.

Lin’s body was found at around 6:00pm, Sunday, January 12. Lin is believed to have broken into an apartment, which was unoccupied at the time, and to have died by carbon monoxide poisoning after burning charcoal, ghost money, and items of clothing in a closed room.

Lin left a message to his older brother saying that he was tired of running and wanted to “depart”. He had previously communicated to his siblings that he would rather die than ever go back to prison.

At the time of his death, Lin was in possession of 8 packets of cigarettes, NT$6,300 in cash, electric shock sticks, and a pair of handcuffs.

In the course of the investigation, police found that more than NT$10,000 had been withdrawn from Ms Deng’s account after her death. Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that Lin had used the electric shock sticks to torture Ms Lin to obtain the PIN number for her ATM card.

Media reports today painted Lin as “brutal and cold-blooded,” saying that he had grown up without parental love. Lin’s mother died when he was a young child, and he grew up with a father who worked for long periods at sea, and an abusive stepmother who fed her biological children first, often leaving Lin and his older brother and sister to go without.

After Lin’s father also died, his stepmother inherited and sold the family property, leaving the Lin siblings with nothing.

According to reports in Liberty Times Network, and United Daily News, Lin had started a life of crime beginning with petty theft -stealing food to survive- in Junior high school, before progressing to stealing money, burglary, and armed robbery.

After being in and out of jail most of his adult life, in 2005, Lin was sentenced to a 7 year, 4 month prison term for robbing a woman while threatening her and her daughter with a watermelon knife. Lin was incarcerated again in 2012 for another case of robbery with violence.

After being released on parole in 2018, Lin, already burdened with debts owed to the victims of his previous crime, was involved in a traffic accident in which he hit a cyclist, and was ordered to pay NT$100,000 in compensation. As a casual worker at a local fruit and vegetable market, Lin had difficulty paying his debts.

After Ms Deng was reported missing on January 6, police spoke to Lin, her neighbor, on the morning of January 7. While the police officers were aware of a strong smell of disinfectant emanating from Lin’s residence, they had no suspicions that a homicide had occurred at the time, and Lin was calm, and did not respond abnormally.

Reports pointed out that at the time of the police doorstep interview with Lin on the morning of January 7, Ms Deng’s remains were still in the bathroom of his small apartment suite.

In the meantime, Lin attempted to throw police off his trail by stuffing Deng’s mobile phone into the body of a large truck parked at the produce market where he worked nearby. The truck was normally used daily to transport agricultural produce from southern and central regions of Taiwan to the market in Taipei City, and Lin believed that this would provide the illusion that Ms Deng was travelling around Taiwan.

Lin managed to evade surveillance by carrying the dismembered corpse of his victim to a laundry room on the fifth floor of the building, then climbing through a window into an adjacent building, from which he exited on the same day he had been interviewed by police, January 7.

Suspect carrying bags
Suspect seen moving bags containing the evidence of his crime.

In the course of the investigation, police examining video monitor footage became more suspicious of a possible homicide after no images of Deng leaving the apartment building were found.

Lin was again questioned at his apartment on January 8, and then brought to the police station where he was interrogated for three hours before being released.

Lin’s ruse in hiding his victim’s phone in the truck was foiled as the truck driver had coincidentally taken time off to deal with a family issue, and the truck remained parked in the same location for several days. Police traced the phone to the location on Wanda Road, and after a thorough search, were prepared to dismantle the truck when they eventually found the phone.

When police returned to Lin’s apartment to interview him for the third time, Lin was gone.

On Sunday evening, January 12, police in Keelung City received a call from the owners of an apartment who returned home after going out for the weekend to find the body of an man unknown to them.

Police identified the deceased via fingerprints as Lin Guo-ping.

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