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September 15, 2012

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Mystery of the closed-door parlor murder solved

LOCAL police said they have nabbed a man who allegedly killed a woman while burglarizing a beauty salon in Changning District last month.

The 17-year-old victim, who worked at the salon, was found lying naked inside the parlor whose doors and windows were locked. She had been strangled. About 3,000 yuan (US$483) and a laptop were missing.

Initially the police were baffled as to how the suspect had managed to sneak inside the parlor when it was locked and were left wondering whether it was a sex crime.

But after an investigation they found that the victim had not been sexually assaulted.

Meanwhile, a barber shop next to the salon had reported being burglarized on the day of the murder, which happened at midnight.

The lock of the shop and its ceiling were broken. A ladder which was in the storage room was placed at the center of the shop, just below the ceiling. This aroused police's suspicion.

They found the salon could be reached through the ceiling because they are connected and only a wall separates the two shops.

The suspect must have been familiar with the structure of the building, police said.

They turned their attention to the decoration workers.

Police tracked a man carrying a laptop similar to the one that was stolen through video surveillance at a nearby bank.

The suspect Zhang Feng, a carpenter, was caught in the Pudong New Area in August. He worked on the decoration of the parlor in July and learnt the "secret of the ceiling" during that time.

Zhang said the idea of burglarizing came to him because he owed a debt to a friend and had promised to pay off before the friend's wedding banquet.

It only took him 10 minutes to break into the salon through the ceiling, he revealed.

While Zhang was committing the crime, he was caught by the woman, who was sleeping naked in the parlor that night.

Zhang said he tried to rape the woman as she was nude but then strangled her to death before fleeing via the ceiling.


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