Beijing (CNN)A 9-year-old Chinese girl's mysterious weeklong disappearance came to a tragic end Sunday after authorities confirmed her lifeless body had been found in the East China Sea.
Missing 9-year-old girl, whose disappearance gripped China, found dead
In a statement released Sunday, Zhejiang Provincial Police confirmed that missing girl Zhang Zixin had drowned in waters off Xiangshan county. They said that her body showed no signs of violence but ruled out her death as an accident.
Millions of people across China had been gripped by the case, closely following the developments as search crews had spent days trying to find the bespectacled second-grader with a long pony tail in waters and caves along the shoreline.
The girl's government services identity card was found in a pavilion near the coast last Wednesday night.
Zhang was last seen just over a week ago, when a witness saw her traveling with a middle-aged couple on a road not far from the search area around 8 p.m. on July 7.
The couple had been renting rooms at her family's house in rural Chun'an county, some 150 kilometers (90 miles) away, according to police.
When the two adults were seen again on surveillance cameras two hours later, the girl wasn't with them. Police said the man and woman, both hailing from the southern province of Guangdong, drowned themselves in a nearby lake later that night.
In their latest statement, police said the 43-year-old man, surnamed Liang, and the 45-year-old woman, surnamed Xie, had been swindling money from family and friends for years, and ran out of cash after traveling extensively across China.
Police said the couple had been increasingly discarding their personal belongings in recent months and an analysis of their social media posts pointed to a desire to commit suicide together with Zhang as their symbolic goddaughter.