CHANGCHUN, March. 5 (Xinhua) -- A missing baby, who was left in a car that had been stolen on Monday morning in northeast China's Jilin Province, died after being strangled, local police confirmed Tuesday evening.
Zhou Xijun, 48, handed himself to local police at around 5 p.m. Tuesday and confessed that he had strangled the baby and buried him in the snow, according to the Jilin Public Security Department on its official Twitter-like Sina Weibo.
The baby's body has not yet been found.
Zhou, a native in the Gongzhuling City of Jilin, stole a gray Toyota RAV4 SUV around 7 a.m. Monday in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province.
Zhou drove the jeep on the highway and found the baby on the backseat. He parked the jeep on the roadside and then strangled the baby.
He absconded and abandoned the baby's clothes and the jeep nearby Gongzhuling City.
The stolen car belongs to a local resident surnamed Xu.
Xu parked the vehicle in front of the supermarket he runs and entered the store to turn on a stove, leaving his two-month-old baby in the back seat without shutting off the car's engine.
Xu came out from the supermarket minutes later only to find that his car was stolen with the baby still inside. He called the police immediately.
"We won't hold you accountable, only if you stop the car and ensure the safety of my child," Xu and his relatives implored via a local traffic radio broadcast.
The stolen car was found near a primary school in Yongfa Township in the city of Gongzhuling Tuesday morning, local police said.
An entrance guard, who reported to the police, said a man in his 30s, about 1.8 meters tall, parked the car there Monday and told him the car was his friend's. The man said he would return to drive the car away at night, but had not appeared until this morning.
According to the latest reports from China Central Television (CCTV)'s Weibo account, the suspected man abandoned the car and took a minibus. The driver of the minibus has been found, but the driver told the police that the man did not have a baby when he got on the minibus.
The license plate of the car and the clothes of the baby were found in a ditch beside a road, 500 meters away from the abandoned car.
The municipal public security bureau of Changchun launched a city-wide hunt and dispatched more than 8,000 police to look for the baby on the streets and in residential communities and parks.
Film celebrity Yao Chen had joined in the search efforts, using her microblog account to encourage more people to look for the child.
Local police are still investigating the case.