It is hard enough to go through the loss of a loved one. When you couple that with seeing them 4 years down the road alive and well you might think you’ve gone crazy and started seeing things. At least, that’s what this family went through when they found their long lost father/husband.
Ma Jixiang was pronounced dead four years ago in a traffic accident by police. His family cremated the dead body they assumed was his. Ma suffers from a mental illness which could explain his disappearance.
His family reported hims missing to the local police station in 2009 after he disappeared while being looked after by his cousins.
In 2012, the family were informed by the traffic police squad of nearby Hengshan county that Mr Ma could have been killed in a traffic accident.
The body of the victim was described unrecognisable, so the authority arranged DNA profiling between the victim and Ma Jianjun, Ma Jixiang’s sibling.
The analysis concluded that it could not ‘exclude the possibility the unnamed body and Ma Jianjun share the same paternal kinship’.
The report led Mr Ma’s family, who had been searching for him for three years, to be convinced that he had passed away.
Police report also confirmed him as the victim of the road accident, which took place on February 7 of that year.
Mr Ma’s family cremated the body of victim from the traffic accident, believing it to be Ma Jixiang’s, and buried the ash under a lavish tomb in February 2012, the report said.
Before the cremation, five of Mr Ma’s family members went to the funeral house to identify the body. They thought the body looked ‘quite similar’ to Ma Jixiang.
The village family had spent thousands of Yuan (hundreds of pounds) building the luxurious graveyard for Mr Ma, complete with handrails, totems of dragons and phoenixes and two golden lions, hoping he could live well in his afterlife.
On December 22, 2015, Mr Ma’s family were stunned when the 59-year-old was taken back to his home by officials of the village of Tanjialong.
The man had been kidnapped and sold to an illegal brick factory to do hard labour, according to China’s Democracy and Law Times.
He had been forced to work in the factory for three years before being released due to his weakening health and inability to undertake heavy work, the report said.
Mr Ma had been homeless for ‘a few months’ on the streets of Hengyang in Hunan Province, according to his own accounts.
He was later taken to a shelter to which Mr Ma recited his registered home address.
The shelter contacted the official of Tanjialong village who arranged him to be taken home.
Mr Ma has been arranged by his village to stay in a local care home.
It remains unclear why the local police had decided to declare his death in 2012, especially because the DNA report did not confirm his identify directly.
While Mr Ma’s family slowly came to accept the reality, they felt greatly humiliated for having laid to rest a family member who was still alive – a taboo for families in rural China.
Mr Ma’s nephew said if it wasn’t for the fact that they had been given false information by the authority, they wouldn’t have cremated and buried a living cousin.
They were concerned about the identify of the man who they had buried.
His family must have been very worried about him since he was lost and homeless with much money. The person in the grave has yet to be identified….
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