Chinese police have said that a six-year-old boy whose eyes were gouged out may have been attacked by an aunt who later killed herself.
Zhang Huiyang, the boy’s aunt, had been identified as a suspect because his blood was found on her clothes by police in the Shanxi province city of Linfen, according to the Xinhua state news agency.
Six days after the boy, Guo Bin, was attacked, Zhang killed herself by jumping into a well. Xinhua did not cite a possible motive for the aunt to attack the boy.
Initial reports said that Guo Bin, who also goes by the nickname Bin Bin, had been playing outside his home on the evening of 24 Aug when he was lured by an unidentified woman into a field where she used a tool to gouge out his eyes.
Family members found the boy late at night in a remote area, his face covered in blood, eyelids swollen. Bin Bin’s eyeballs were found at the scene, according to police reports.
State media had previously raised the possibility that Bin Bin's corneas were taken to be trafficked because of a donor shortage in China, but police said that when his eyeballs were found the corneas hadn't been removed.
The police finding that the attacker is likely to have been the boy’s late aunt seemed to conflict with the family's earlier comments on the boy's assailant, which cited him as saying that the woman spoke with an accent from outside the area and had hair that was dyed blonde.
“Mama, why is the sky still so dark?” the child has been quoted as saying while recovering in hospital, his parents unable to bring themselves to tell him about his condition.
The boy’s mother said a phone interview that the boy was disoriented after the traumatizing attack.
“It is easy to understand that he wasn't clear about the situation,” Wang Wenli told The Associated Press. “He said her accent was from another region, but he later amended that. He then said it was a local accent, but he did not say that it was his aunt.”
She declined to talk about the police evidence against her sister-in-law, saying, “The police did not tell us anything. I do not know.”
The case has traumatized the Chinese public and added to anger over violence against children following a scandal earlier in the year involving teachers who sexually abused young girls. Footage of Bin Bin with his eyes bandaged and parents distraught, have spread across the web.