There are no suspicious circumstances in the death of a Chinese teenager whose body was found near his school last week more than 100 days after he went missing, authorities said Thursday, ending a high-profile case that had gripped the nation.
Hu Xinyu, 15, vanished from a private high school in China’s southeastern Jiangxi province in October. His disappearance became one of the most discussed topics on the Chinese internet, prompting questions about what happened to him.
At a news conference Thursday, Hu Mansong, deputy police chief of Jiangxi province, provided detailed information on the police investigation into Hu’s death — an unusually thorough account by the standards of Chinese authorities. He also acknowledged shortcomings in official search operations and accepted public criticism.
Authorities had been criticized for not finding find Hu despite extensive police searches. The operations covered nearly 40 hectares (0.4 square kilometers) of woodland around the school campus, deploying sniffer dogs, drones and thermal imaging equipment and mobilizing thousands of people, before his body was found by a member of the public.
In recent months, baseless rumors surrounding the boy’s disappearance had run rampant, underscoring deep public distrust in Chinese authorities – partly the result of a lack of government transparency and years of worsening censorship.
Police have arrested one person for spreading a video containing false information and handed out administrative punishment to three others for spreading rumors, the deputy police chief said Thursday.