Prosecutors are questioning a woman and her former partner over the disappearance of their son, after the remains of a child were dug up from a graveyard in New Taipei City (新北市) in May.
According to the police, both the 32-year-old mother, surnamed Chiu (邱), and her live-in partner Huang Ching-lin (黃清霖), 34, have records of drug abuse.
They said Chiu gave birth to a boy in June 2002, but failed to register the birth with the government. The hospital where the boy was born did report the birth to the local household registration office, in accordance with the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act (兒童及少年福利與權益保障法).
Police on Friday quoted the mother as saying that on the night of Jan. 29, 2004, they found the boy was having difficulty breathing and was foaming at the mouth, and he died a short time later.
Chiu was quoted as saying that they did not take the boy for treatment because Huang was wanted for forgery and was hiding from the police.
Chiu was quoted by the police as saying that she got an unlicensed mortician to bury the body, adding that the boy was taken to a graveyard in Sijhih District (汐止). She split up with Huang shortly after, police said.
The boy was listed as a missing person when he reached the age at which he was supposed to attend grade school in 2008.
The case was first picked up by Chang Ke-chiang (張克強), head of criminal investigation for the National Highway Police at Taishan District (泰山) in 2010, when he went to the Banciao District Office to gather information on missing person cases.
When Chiu was questioned at the time, she said the boy died from some illness, while Huang initially denied having a baby with Chiu.
Suspecting something was wrong, Chang late last year applied to have police look into the case.
When questioned by police in March this year, Chiu told officers the boy had been beaten by Huang for playing with a lighter, and she fought with Huang over that.
The police in May went to a public cemetery in Sijhih and dug up what are suspected to be the boy’s remains.
The District Prosecutors’ Office of New Taipei City said only a pile of broken, dried up bones were left, and very little DNA material can be gathered for testing to verify the body’s identity.
The prosecutors said even if the remains are Chiu’s boy, they do not have evidence to prove his death was due to physical abuse, despite the suspicious circumstances.
The unlicensed mortuary operator who handled the burial is now listed as a key witness and will be questioned, prosecutors added.
Additional reporting by Wu Po-hsuan