CHANGCHUN, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people gathered in a square in Changchun City, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, on Tuesday night to mourn the case of a baby who was apparently murdered by a thief who found the two-month-old boy sleeping in a car he had stolen.
A two-day city-wide manhunt in the snow-covered province ended when the suspect handed himself in to local police at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, confessing to stealing an SUV and strangling its young passenger.
China's Internet has since been lit up by discussion of the tragedy.
Zhou Xijun, 48, told police he had stolen the vehicle on Monday morning, found the baby on the back seat after driving onto a highway, strangled the infant and buried him in the snow, according to the Jilin Public Security Department.
The car belonged to a local resident surnamed Xu.
Xu parked in front of the supermarket he runs and entered the store to turn on a stove, leaving his child in the back seat without shutting off the car's engine.
He came out of the supermarket minutes later only to find that his car had been stolen with the baby still inside. He called the police immediately.
More than 8,000 police were dispatched to hunt the thief. Hundreds of volunteers also joined in the search across Jilin in the past two days after learning the news in local media.
Zhou confessed that he parked the car on the roadside and choked the baby about an hour after he stole the car, and then abandoned the baby's clothes and the car nearby Gongzhuling City.
While police are trying to locate the suspect's burial site, it is not known whether a body has yet been found in the case.
The death of the baby has understandably saddened people in Changchun and much further afield.
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