The wife of a man accused of killing 19 people in the village of Yema, Yunnan said he had been “acting abnormally”, but that she has no clue why her husband would murder anyone. The suspect, 27-year-old Yang Qingpei, had been eking out a quiet living before the mass murder on September 28, the news portal Caixin.com reported on Monday. The 19 victims were said to have come from six families, and included a three-year-old toddler and Yang’s parents. The bodies were reportedly found in different locations in the village on September 29. Yang was arrested in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, on September 29. Hard lives and bad deaths: rural murders put spotlight on China’s wealth gap It is alleged that Yang killed his parents after failing to get money from them on the night of September 28, and then killed 17 people who lived near the crime scene in a gruesome effort to cover his trail. Yang’s wife, who was not identified, was quoted as saying that he had only been giving her 500 yuan (HK$580) each month for household expenses in the past few months, instead of more than 1,000 yuan as usual. “He also became cold to me and his children,” she said, but added that she had no idea why he might have killed anyone. “I would definitely ask him why he would do that when I got a chance to see him.” China’s notorious ‘serial killer’ left ample evidence in rape-murder spree but escaped capture for decades Villagers in Yema were also shocked to hear that Yang was a suspect, saying he was a quiet man and had little contact with others. A relative of one of the slain people said it had been “quite rare” for the suspect to even quarrel with any of the victims. Yang’s cousin said he could not understand how someone as skinny and short as the suspect could have killed 19 people in one night. “How can a man who was always posting photos of his daughter on Wechat be capable of murdering his own parents?” he asked. China’s worst serial killers: a litany of evil through history According to a source close to the police, Yang said he thought no one would reveal the initial murders if he killed everyone near the crime scene, the report said. The village of Yema is located high in the mountains and known for growing lilies and strawberries. Most of its residents are elderly. How scientists studying China’s distant past helped police finally catch ‘one of nation’s most notorious serial killers’ Murderers have become a hot topic in China recently, dominating discussion on social media platforms. The interest in the grim topic was sparked when a serial killer who had been at large since 1988 was brought to justice in August in Gansu province. He allegedly killed 11 women and girls, including an eight-year-old.