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China Eye Gouging: Aunt Suspected Of Attack
The aunt of a six-year-old boy whose eyes were gouged out is suspected of carrying out the attack that has horrified China.
Official Chinese media reported that the woman, named as Zhang Huiying, committed suicide by jumping into a well six days after the boy, Guo Bin, was injured.
Police in the city of Linfen, in northern Shanxi province, identified her as a suspect because the boy's blood was found on her clothes, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
They gave no suggestion of motive and the family has denied reports of a dispute over the cost of paying for the care of an elderly relative.
Initial reports said the boy, nicknamed Bin Bin, had been playing outside his home on the evening of August 24 when he was lured by an unidentified woman into a field where she used a tool to gouge out his eyes.
Family members found the boy late at night in a remote area, his face covered in blood and eyelids swollen.
The latest police finding seemed to conflict with an earlier suggestion from the family that the woman spoke with a strange accent and had hair that was dyed blonde.
Bin Bin's mother Wang Wenli said that the boy was disorientated after the traumatising attack but was recovering steadily. "It is easy to understand that he wasn't clear about the situation," she said.
Of the attacker she added: "He said her accent was from another region, but he later amended that. He then said it was a local accent, but he did not say that it was his aunt."
She declined to talk about the police evidence against her sister-in-law, saying: "The police did not tell us anything. I do not know."
Her brother Wang Wenjun, one of the boy's uncles, said that Zhang might have been mentally ill and that it was unclear why she committed suicide.
Of the boy's recovery Ms Wang said: "He talks to me, and he plays with toys that people have sent him. He still doesn't know that he likely will be blind the rest of his life."
Meanwhile, doctors from an eye clinic in Shenzhen visited the boy earlier this week to assess the injuries and possibilities for providing new artificial eyeballs in a complicated surgery.
Dennis Lam, the doctor who heads the clinic, told China News Service, a government-owned news agency, that the surgery would take place in four to six weeks once the evaluation of the damage in the eye sockets is conducted and the family agrees to the procedure.
"The first plan is to make sure there is some healthy tissue in the injured eyes, so the tissue can cover and hold the artificial eyes. If that is not possible, we need to perform significantly more difficult surgery," said Dr Lam.
The attack has horrified the Chinese public with internet users expressing dismay as they circulated reports of the attack and links to footage showing Bin Bin writhing in pain on a hospital trolley.