Is it ever really possible to know the person you’re married to? You would expect to know the person you share your bed with every night, have kids with, and buy a home with. But as some people discover, the person they thought they married never really existed…
After more than a decade by her husband’s side, one Chinese woman thought she knew everything about her husband and what he was capable of. However, a knock on the door one afternoon proved she knew nothing about the man she married…
Love At First Sight
When one Chinese woman was introduced to a man named Wang Gui by a friend, she knew she had finally met the man she would settle down with. Wang was mute, but they found ways around his disability to communicate and build a relationship.
After dating for a while, Wang eventually proposed to his girlfriend. Shortly after, they got married and later had a child together. Life was going well for the couple, who were based in the Anhui province, which is located in eastern China near Shanghai, but everything Wang’s wife knew about him was a lie…
Just years earlier, in 2005, Wang Gui didn’t exist. Instead, he was a man known only by the last name Zeng. Zeng was a married man living in his original home in Hangzhou, which was about 450 miles south of his home in the Anhui province.
One night in 2005, Zeng got into an argument with his uncle-in-law. The fight was over the rent, which was about $76. The verbal fight quickly became physical and Zeng stabbed his wife’s uncle, Mr. Chai, who later died from the stab wounds…
Life On The Run
Zeng knew that if he stayed in Hangzhou, the police would track him down. If caught for murder, Zeng faced prison time or even the death sentence, which is legal in China. His only option and chance of survival was to flee and start a new life.
Zeng changed his name to Wang Gui, but wasn’t sure it would be enough to keep people from figuring out his true identity. In order to ensure no one figure out the truth, Zeng pretended to be mute and committed to the new persona he created…
Zeng decided to travel hundreds of mile north from his home to a place where he wouldn’t have to worry so much about people recognizing him since he didn’t know anyone in that area. After moving to his new home, Zeng got a job as a construction worker.
Originally, Zeng planned to work in construction and lead a simple life in order to avoid any attention that could lead police to him. However, Zeng’s plans completely changed when his boss from the construction company introduced him to a woman…
Zeng quickly fell in love with the woman and couldn’t resist starting a relationship with her even though it was risky for him. But even after getting married and starting their family together, Zeng was never honest about faking his disability or his criminal past.
For 12 years, life was going well for Zeng and his new family in the Anhui province. But the life he carefully constructed for over a decade was completely destroyed when Zeng’s wife heard a knock at the door of the family’s home one afternoon…
Who Is Wang Gui
The police had come to the village to conduct household surveys. Like every other home in the area, the police went to Zeng’s home, which was listed under his alias, Wang Gui. When Zang failed to present official paperwork to prove his identity as Wang Gui, the police knew something wasn’t right.
DNA Doesn’t Lie
The police took Zeng in for questioning, but they couldn’t communicate with him since he was mute. The officers took a sample of his DNA and ran it through the system. The results, however, were not what they expected for the quiet family man…
The Murder Suspect
The DNA didn’t match any records for anyone with the name Wang Gui. However, the DNA did match a record for the murderer responsible for Mr. Chai’s death in 2005. Local police had searched for Zeng, who was their main suspect, but the case went cold after they failed to find any trace of him.
The police officers that brought Zeng in thought they would just be validating an identity record for a villager who lost his papers. However, they unknowingly brought in a killer and could finally solve a case that had gone unsolved for far too long…
Finding The Truth
Zeng was in their custody and they had no intention of letting him slip through their fingers for a second time. But when they tried to question Zeng and get to the bottom of what had happened over the past 12 years, Zeng wouldn’t talk.
A Fake Disability
Reports from the original 2005 investigation never mentioned anything about Zeng being mute, so police knew he must be faking his disability. Detectives told Zeng everything they knew about him and explained they knew he wasn’t really mute, but Zeng still wouldn’t talk…
But it wasn’t because Zeng didn’t want to talk. Zeng had gone over a decade without speaking a single word the entire time, and because of the years without use, his vocal cords had atrophied, which happens to any other muscle that goes unused for periods of time, and he was now actually mute.
The First Question
Once the officers established Zeng really couldn’t talk, they got Zeng to agree to write his responses to their questions down on paper with a pen. The first question police asked Zeng was why he decided to create a fake alias that was mute…
Not Gone Forever
“The less I say, the less chance I’ll make a mistake,” Zeng wrote back in his response. According to Dr. Anil K Lalwani, an Otolaryngologist at Columbia University, physical therapy would bring back Zeng’s voice. “Because they would still be innervated by a nerve, they should be able to recover down the road, because the muscle would not be completely atrophied,” said Lalwani.
The Maximum Sentence
Unfortunately, however, it’s unlikely Zeng will ever receive the physical therapy necessary to restore his voice since he is being accused of murder. In China, the death penalty is legal, and if found guilty, it’s likely the sentence Zeng will receive.