A 24-year-old mother in eastern China was found dead with seven knife wounds in her home while her toddler was sitting in the next room. After a month-long investigation, police concluded that they believe the woman had killed herself.

The victim, referred to as Nana in Chinese media reports, was found lying in blood in her kitchen by her father-in-law on July 8. Her 2-year-old daughter was sitting in the bedroom alone, the father-in-law told a local broadcaster in Shandong Province.

Victim Nana. Photo: screencap of Shandong TV Qilu Channel.

“When I went into their home, I saw my granddaughter sitting on the bed. I asked her, ‘where is your mum?’ She pointed to the kitchen,” Yao Quanli told Shandong TV, “I found my daughter-in-law lying on the ground. There was blood everywhere. Her body had become stiff. I called the police.”

The woman’s husband Yao Huajiong, who was in another city working, had asked his father to go check on his wife and daughter after he was unable to reach them for two days.

Victim’s husband Yao Huajiong and daughter Xixi. Photo: Shandong TV Qilu Channel

In a news programme aired on Shandong TV on Tuesday, Yao Huajiong said his wife could not have killed herself.

“The forensic doctor told me my wife’s fatal wounds were on her neck. [There were] a total of seven,” he said on TV. ”

On August 5, police told Yao and his family investigators have reached the conclusion that Nana committed suicide. In a document, police said it will not pursue the case further as “no criminal facts were found.”

Police document telling Yao family the victim committed suicide. Photo: Shandong TV Qilu Channel

When questioned by Shandong TV, a police officer who took part in the investigation said the conclusion was made “after taking all circumstances into consideration.”

However, Nana’s family was not convinced. According to her mother-in-law, the toddler remembered two men being in their home on the day Nana died.

The family has applied for the police to review the case.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.