TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Keelung police officer was able to identify a woman based only on a T-shirt she had worn, allowing her to be properly buried on Monday (Oct. 12), nine years after going missing.
Hsu Yao-bin (許耀彬), a section chief at the Keelung City Police Bureau's First Precinct, has gained a reputation for his ability to find missing people, dead or alive.
While he was reviewing the National Police Agency’s unclaimed body registry in July, a case caught his attention: the body of a woman spotted floating beside a newly built dock at the Guting Riverside Park in 2011, according to a CNA report. The body was swollen and rotten, having been submerged for a long time, making it impossible to identify her based on facial features or fingerprints.
Since there were no other identifying documents, jewelry, or other objects and surveillance video turned out to be unhelpful, the body was cremated and buried in the unclaimed body section of Taipei City’s Fude Public Cemetery for nine years. In August, after crosschecking more than 100 files, Hsu came to believe that a 52-year-old Taipei woman surnamed Chiu (邱), who went missing in 2011, might be a match.
Hsu said that even though the body’s physical characteristics were unrecognizable, it was clear that she was wearing a T-shirt with a unique Big Mouth Monkey design, according to the report. When the officer called the missing woman’s sister, surnamed Kao (高), and asked her if she remembered the image on the shirt Chiu was wearing the day she went missing. Kao replied immediately — it was the Big Mouth Monkey pattern.
Hsu said that after comparing saliva samples from Chiu’s two daughters with DNA taken from the unclaimed body, it was determined that the body belonged to Chiu. After the unclaimed body was finally identified, Kao told Hsu that Chiu had left home after a falling-out with her family and that the family had been concerned about her safety every day for the past nine years.
Chiu’s family held a funeral for her on Monday and buried her ashes at Fude Public Cemetery.