The story of Zhou Kehua, the fugitive described as "China's most dangerous man" transfixed the nation for days earlier this month. Zhou was accused of preying on people at cash machines in various cities, then shooting them dead, and the 42-year-old was linked to nine murders over an eight-year spree.
When police in the southwestern city of Chongqing cornered Zhou and shot him dead in an alleyway in the city's Shapingba district, media spoke of "a sigh of relief" across the country.
Soon after, the top trending story on Weibo, China's version of the banned Twitter, was the news that a woman, said to be his girlfriend, was under investigation by police. The Chinese state broadcaster alleged that Zhang Guiying was Zhou's girlfriend and that he would call her before each heist and tell her of his criminal plans.
Photographs of a glamorous young woman were soon circulating widely on Weibo, although the police stopped short of formally identifying her as Zhou's girlfriend or linking her to the crimes.
A Chongqing police officer surnamed Wu did tell the Global Times that the authorities had intercepted a call between Zhou and Zhang in which he said he planned more bloodshed in Chongqing.
Now, following Zhou's killing by the police, some 500,000 yuan (around £50,000) is still supposed to be missing, and local residents have started treasure hunts around Gele Mountain – where Zhou was believed to be hiding – to locate the missing loot.