Unearthed ancient corpse missing in Henan mystery

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 3:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 October, 2013, 3:47pm

A well-preserved ancient corpse, which villagers in Henan believe to be that of one of their ancestors, has gone missing just a day after its discovery, local television reported on Wednesday.

Henan Satellite TV said a coffin containing the body was unearthed a week ago at a construction site in the city of Zhoukou in the east of the province. Photos from the television newscast show the body, with teeth and beard easily identifiable and dressed in Qing-dynasty (1644-1911) official costume, under examination by local cultural-heritage officials.

Two further coffins were discovered on either side, both of which contained unidentifiable decayed skeletons.

A 92-year-old man surnamed Zhang told reporters the deceased was his ancestor. He recalled the name of the corpse and said the two on either side were his wife and concubine.

But when dozens of local residents from the local village visited the site the next day to consider relocating the corpse, they were shocked to find all three coffins missing.

Villagers suspect building workers responsible for the mysterious disappearance. The construction team working at the site refused to comment.

“It must have something to do with money,” one resident surnamed Zhang told television reporters, adding that he suspected the construction team.

“We only hope our ancestor can be buried peacefully, that’s all,” said another.

District civil affairs office staff said on Wednesday police had stepped in to investigate. Once the bodies are found, the office will help arrange a new burial site.