A criminal investigation is under way after four children aged five to 11 were found apparently buried alive in a deep pit at an illegal construction site.
The four boys – two brothers, their cousin and a neighbour – are believed to have sneaked into the unlawful earthwork to play when they were buried under layers of sand.
The young victims were found suffocated to death in the 3-foot-deep pit Saturday (18th April) when they went missing and their families began a search, but the circumstances surrounding their tragic deaths were still unclear at the time of writing.
The fenced-off worksite belongs to future residential district Shenghe Mansion, but construction began before developers had received government approval, officials in Yuanyang County in Central China’s Henan Province reported yesterday (19th April).
Yuanyang People’s Government said in a statement that developer Xinxiang Zhongfu Real Estate Co Ltd had been issued with a cease and desist letter on 15th April – just three days before the incident.
Seven people, including company manager Wu Yaochen, are in custody as an investigation continues.
Mr Liu, father of the two brothers, said the four boys were reported missing at around 5pm local time on Saturday.
They were found buried in the construction site pit an hour later, but it took until past 10pm that night to retrieve their bodies, which he said were “still warm”.
Heartbreaking images show family members surrounding four small coffins at the construction site, where relatives are protesting and demanding justice, and where police are still investigating.
County officials have promised a “thorough” investigation, the results of which are to be announced in the coming weeks.
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