Police solve 16-years missing person’s case after bones found in steel drum

A man in Changhua County has been charged with murder following an investigation launched in May when human remains were found in a steel drum in Dacun Township.

On May 11, a Taoist Priest collecting recyclable materials, accidentally knocked over a steel drum, which was located in a fire alley next to a drainage ditch. Bones fell out of the drum, which the priest immediately recognized as human.

The subsequent police investigation revealed that the drum contained a human skeleton, remnants of clothing, and a blurred and faded driver’s license.

Detectives used a spectrometer to decipher the information on the license, which identified a man named Lee, who had been missing for 16 years. Lee was 29 years old at the time of his disappearance, and was reported missing in May 2004.

Investigators questioned Lee’s family, who told police that at the time of Lee’s disappearance they suspected that he was having a relationship with a woman named Hong.

Ms Hong provided information that led police to question Hong’s ex-husband, named Lai.

Lai, 51, and Hong had divorced in 2001, but were still living in the same residence in 2004. Lai was jealous and dissatisfied with the close relationship Hong had with her colleague, Lee.

Lai honestly, and frankly confessed to police that in April 2004, Lai happened to meet Lee on Shanjiao Road in Dacun Township. The two men had an argument, and Lai picked up a rock and hit Lee on the head, rendering him unconscious. Lai then put Lee into a vehicle and drove to a local elementary school, where he strangled Lee to death with a rope.

Lai then put Lee’s body into the 200 liter steel drum, and dumped it in the fire alley.

Mr Lai expressed relief at being able to confess to the murder, as it had been weighing on his conscience every day for the last 16 years.

The District Prosecutor charged Lai for the crime of homicide.

skull and bones in drum
Original location of steel drum.
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