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Suspect in infant's cigarette injury case located through DNA testing

By Liang Shuang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-09-18 18:33

Authorities in Zhengzhou, Henan province, have identified a suspect who allegedly threw a burning cigarette end from a tall building, resulting in an injury to a 4-month-old infant. Local media sources revealed that the breakthrough came after DNA samples were collected from all residents of an entire building.

According to Dingduan News, affiliated with the Henan Daily newspaper, the mother of the injured infant, identified by her surname, Huang, stated that the police conducted blood tests on all residents of a 26-story building and successfully matched the DNA from the cigarette to a specific individual.

Huang recounted that the incident occurred on the evening of Aug 25 while she was walking in her neighborhood in Zhengzhou, pushing her infant in a stroller. A lit cigarette struck the infant's face as they were near the building's elevator shaft.

Although Huang initially detected no visible injuries on the baby's face, she later discovered that the cigarette had landed on the baby's neck and had been extinguished when caught between the neck and clavicle. Photos taken by Huang showed that the injuries eventually developed into several blisters and became infected.

Upon reporting the incident to the police, it was revealed that the neighborhood, while displaying notice boards urging residents not to throw objects from high-rise buildings, lacked security cameras on upper floors that could provide valuable evidence.

The community's management company acknowledged that they had been collecting opinions on installing additional cameras to deter such behavior since April, but it was an ongoing process.

The police eventually decided, on Aug 30, to conduct DNA tests on residents in the entire 26-story building, which comprises five residences on each floor.

Similar incidents have occurred periodically in China. In May, police in Shanxi province successfully located the person responsible for tossing a partially eaten apple from a building, injuring a passerby.

Since March 2021, China's Criminal Law has classified the act of throwing objects from high-rise buildings as a crime. Offenders may face imprisonment of up to one year in addition to fines. China's Civil Code also stipulates that victims of such incidents have the right to seek compensation.

In cases where the perpetrator cannot be identified, the responsibility is shared among all residents in the building, except those who can prove their innocence.

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