A Chinese man, only identified by his last name Zeng, is accused of killing his wife's uncle, identified as Chai, by stabbing him in an argument-turned-dispute over a rent of about $76 back in 2005.
Zeng went into hiding as an imposter, Wang Gui, and pretended to be mute to protect himself from being suspected of his crime.
He settled down as a construction worker in Anhui province, which was 450 miles north of Hangzhou where he originally lived, remarried and had a child – all the while living under a false identity.
The act went on for 12 years and just when Zeng's concerns about his arrest started to fade, the police chanced upon to survey the households in his village and took Zeng for a DNA test, ultimately resulting in his arrest.
It was later discovered Zeng's lack of usage of his voice left him unable to speak. Even as he was being accused of the murder, he had to write to the officials in order to communicate with them. He defended his false identity by saying, "The less I say, the less chance I'll make a mistake.”
On the subject, Dr. Anil K. Lalwani, an Otolaryngologist at Columbia University, spoke about how the constant nonuse of vocal cords can make them unable to function. However, physical therapy can help in such cases.
“Because they would still be innervated by a nerve, they should be able to recover down the road, because the muscle would not be completely atrophied,” Lalwani explained.
In China, the sentence for murder is usually the death penalty.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Finbarr O’Reilly