‘China’s Jack the Ripper’ caught after 28 years on the run

00:57 - Source: CNN
China's 'Jack the Ripper' caught

Story highlights

Killer accused of the murders of 11 people, including an eight-year-old girl

Gao Chengyong caught after DNA evidence linked him to the crimes

First murder committed in 1988

CNN —  

A suspected serial killer accused of the rape and murder of 11 women has been caught after almost three decades on the run.

Chinese police said this week that Gao Chengyong, 52, was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to the crimes which began 28 years ago.

Gao targeted young women dressed in red, who he followed home before raping and killing them, often by slitting their throats, according to Chinese state media.

He would also mutilate the bodies of the victims, some as young as eight years old, leading to his being dubbed “China’s Jack the Ripper.”

Killer who hated women

According to state media, Gao confessed to 11 murders in Gansu province and Inner Mongolia between 1988 and 2002.

The majority of the attacks took place around Baiyin, a city of around 1.7 million in northeastern Gansu. Such was the panic caused by the murders at the time that women avoided walking unaccompanied at night, and the local authorities offered a 200,000 yuan ($30,000) reward for any information.

“The suspect has a sexual perversion and hates women,” Baiyin police said at the time, according to state media.

“He’s reclusive and unsociable, but patient.”

While the reward failed to generate any leads, a new investigation launched earlier this year by the national Criminal Investigation Bureau reexamined DNA evidence that had been gathered from the crime scenes.

Gao was finally undone not by his own crimes, but by those of a family member.

After his uncle was arrested for a minor offense, his DNA was taken and was close enough to the killer’s that police suspected he must be related.

Detectives narrowed in on Gao, covertly gathering his DNA and testing it to confirm that he was, indeed, the reclusive “Ripper.”

Gao’s family seems to have been in the dark about his crimes, his wife wailed and cried when she heard of his arrest, the Beijing News reported.