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Dead priest’s family denies suicide claim

HONG KONG (UCAN): The family of Father Pedro Yu Heping, a priest from the unofficial Church community in Shanxi province, whose dead body was found in the Yellow River on November 8, has called for a reinvestigation into his death after rejecting the findings of a government autopsy that determined he committed suicide.

Wanbailin Police Bureau in Taiyuan City showed the report to the family of Father Yu, also known as Wei Heping, on January 15.

A person from his Church community claimed that the report said there was a large area of bleeding on the right side of his brain, but there was no wound visible on the surface of his skin.

“Police did not allow them to keep the report or even make a copy. No copies have been made available to the public,” the person said, adding that the family cannot believe his death can be dismissed as a suicide when the autopsy could easily point to other causes of death.

They also cannot believe he took his own life, saying that he was a Catholic priest and the Church looks upon suicide as a grave sin.

The police investigation claims that Father Yu was last seen at a Taiyuan hotel on November 6. 

A closed circuit TV camera caught him talking on his mobile phone as he was leaving the hotel later that day. Police say they do not know why he was at the hotel, since he was supposed to be travelling to Liaoning province.

“However, police said there was no record of him making a phone call during that time period,” the person from the Church said, adding that they also refused to show the video footage from the surveillance camera.

The family’s rejection of the suicide theory was also supported by Tianzhujiao Zaixian, a Catholic web portal of which Father Yu was a co-founder some 15 years ago.

“Police said Father Yu committed suicide. Obviously, the autopsy did not support the claim,” its administrators said in a notice posted on the site.

“The priest’s family has demanded the police initiate another investigation, but say they have closed the file,” a person from the Church said.

“This infringes on the rights of the family and creates greater obstacles for us to find the truth,” the person noted.


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