Police in Northern Jiangsu’s Lianyungang city have used DNA to find the culprit in a long standing murder and rape case right under their very nose, or bars, as it turns out. To be exact, the perpetrator of the 2002 crimes has been found hiding in plain sight, in a jail in Zhejiang province.
On 30th August 2002 in Lianyungang, 39 year-old Xu Mouzhen had what was to be her last quarrel with her family. Escaping the tense atmosphere at home, she took off to let her temper cool down, sitting alone by a bridge near the intersection of Nanji Nan Lu and Haining Lu. It was 8 pm.
Pan Mouwu was working at a construction site on the west side of the River Yan not far from this scene, and had just finished work when he came across Xu. During the struggle to resist the rape, Xu broke Pan’s arm. She was then strangled by Pan with his belt. Pan went on to dump her dead body in a nearby ditch.
The corpse was discovered at 7 the following morning. Investigating police took DNA samples and entered them into the national DNA database, looking for a match. Nothing turned up.
The limited DNA technology of the time meant that the case went unsolved, but remained open. The following year (2003), Pan and his wife went to work in Wenling City, Zhejiang Province. Pan had secured employment in a local supermarket, a job that would ultimately lead to his undoing.
Last summer (2017), Pan was caught by surveillance cameras committing theft from the supermarket, and was given an 8 month jail sentence.
The DNA obtained, and the superior related technology, would lead Zhejiang police to confirm Pan was also the perpetrator of additional rape case, committed back in 2003 upon his move to Wenling.
The Yangtze Evening Post reports that subsequent DNA matching between provincial police forces was able to put Pan at the scene of both the 2002 Lianyungang crimes.
Pan faces retrial for one count of murder and two counts of rape.