Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man killed sister, pickled her head

Like a scary scene taken from the Silence of the Lambs, police searching a public toilet for the body of a woman missing since December 2012, found her pickled head in a bag instead. An attached note asked for the head to receive “proper burial.” The local media dubbed it the “pickled head case.”

Police in Chiayi county, China, soon identified the handwriting in the note as that of Chen Chia-fu, 38, the brother of the missing/murdered 36-year-old woman. Investigators also found that Chen had taken out at least four life-insurance policies on his sister. A review of local surveillance footage reportedly showed Chen carrying bags, contents unknown, around Chiyai.

Police believe that Chen took a train from the home he had shared in Taipei with his sister, to Chiayi with her pickled head and dumped it in the toilet where it was found layered in salt in a bag with the note. The rest of the body and the murder weapon have not been found.

Chen was arrested on March 18, 2013.

At his trial this month, Chen pleaded not guilty, and argued that he had no criminal record, and was raised in a family with a history of mental dysfunction and violence. The judges convicted him yesterday, but taking into consideration his arguments, pared him the death penalty.

Chen is expected to appeal the ruling.

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