A little girl in China’s Northern Tianjin city was found dead on her school bus. According to police, the preschooler died of “high-temperature dehydration” after accidentally being left inside the bus all day by her preschool teachers. But her parents say that she died from sexual molestation, and that the police are covering up the crime.
On the morning of Aug. 29, three year-old Jinjin got on her nursery school bus with her parents watching. At 4 p.m. the same day, Jinjin’s mother received a phone call from the school saying that Jinjin was sick and being treated at a hospital. As the family prepared to rush to the hospital, the kindergarten called again telling them that Jinjin was dead.
“They didn’t tell me how she died, but just asked me whether I wanted to settle it in private or in court,” Xu Weisheng, Jinjin’s father told the Youth Times. After turning down the nursery school’s suggestion of a private settlement, the parents went to see their daughter’s body at the hospital at 5 p.m.
They said they were shocked by what they saw. Their daughter’s body was naked except for her panties, which were inside-out. She was covered up with other people’s clothes. There were bruises all over her body, as well as on her face. There were also seven or eight holes on her chest, and blood on her genitals suggested that she had been sexually assaulted.
The body was sent to the Tianjin Forensic Center at 6 p.m. the same day, and local police started an investigation.
“Police said that my daughter had died by suffocation in the bus. That’s out of the question,” Xu told the Youth Times.
After reports of the girl’s death were posted on Weibo, China’s biggest micro-blog site, many people expressed anger.
Li Hui, the President of Yibaihao Media Group, a small private company in Tianjin, initiated an investigation of his own to assist the distraught parents.
On Sept. 16 Li met with Jinjin’s parents and posted their findings on his Weibo blog.
Li said that on the day of the child’s death, the bus driver said to the parents, “Your daughter is a good kid, very pretty.”
According to police, Jinjin took the school bus that arrived at the nursery school at 8:30 a.m., but was left unattended on the bus. Only at around 3 p.m., during a head count, did the teacher notice that Jinjin was missing. That’s when the teacher discovered the child’s body on the school bus.
Outdoors temperatures that day were up to 91 degrees, and Jinjin’s death was caused by heatstroke after being locked inside the bus for seven hours with windows fully closed, according to the police.
Jinjin’s father found the police version unacceptable. He told Li that there were nineteen children, one driver, and two female teachers on the school bus, making it unlikely that Jinjin would be left all alone on the bus.
He also said that the autopsy report confirmed a “broken hymen of 4-5 cm.” Furthermore, the police said the school bus driver confessed to having “indecently assaulted” the girl, but that it was “simply a touch,” which could not have been the direct cause of her death.
Youth Times said it contacted the Public Security Bureau of Tianjin’s Xiqing District. A Mr. Sun, the Deputy Director, claimed the case had been resolved, and four suspects, including the school bus driver, the nursery school director, and two bus monitors, were arrested on criminal charges.
But the charges do not appear to include molestation. When asked about the wounds on Jinjin’s body, Sun said that a child’s skin is fragile and sensitive and gets easily “burnt by the sun.”
Jinjin’s body remains at the local hospital. Her family said they are not willing to sign an autopsy report or have the body cremated before these inconsistencies are solved, and they have hired a lawyer.
A Voice of China article said: “We think little Jinjin died an unknown death as there are several problems in this case. Instead of making a hasty conclusion, it is hoped the police will reverse themselves and reinvestigate this case so as to obtain honest and just explanations that bring comfort to the parents and the child’s memory.”
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