Nanjing mother arrested after her two children die of starvation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 5:56pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 June, 2013, 6:09pm

Nanjing police have detained a 22-year-old woman on suspicion of murder following a report that she left her two young daughters at home and allowed them to starve to death, Hua Shang Daily reported. The case has angered and shocked many people in China. The two girls were aged only one and three.

The woman, surnamed Le, was arrested after police on Friday found the two toddlers’ decomposing bodies in a suburban community home in the Jiangning district. The Daily reported that the children had starved to death.

Community neighbourhood committee director Chen Jinbao said Le had been raising the children on her own. Her live-in boyfriend, Li Wenbin, who is the father of the younger girl, was jailed in February for drug offences.

Another ex-boyfriend of Le is the father of the older daughter, Chen told the newspaper.

Neighbours said Le worked in a nightclub and often did not return home for days. She frequently borrowed food and nappies from neighbours.

Local resident Shi Chunxiang said that when police officers visited Le’s home, about two months ago, they had to pick the lock of the door. Inside, they found the younger child in a terrible state. Shi said she suspected the toddler was so hungry it had tried eating its own excrement.

Shi also said Le often did not change her daughters’ nappies for days. “I once saw the skin on one of her daughters’ body festering because her nappies had not been changed for sometime,” Shi told the newspaper.

According to Chen, the community gave Le’s 800 yuan a month to help her raise the children after Li went to jail. Local police also visited the family every week or 10 days.

Reports of the case have sparked considerable anger online. While many internet users criticised Le’s treatment of her children, they also said her neighbours had been too apathetic and there had been inadequate social care in the community.

Many online users also said Le should be punished. They urged the government to issue stricter guidelines to stop parents abandoning their children at home.