08/30/2016 12:26 EDT | Updated 08/31/2016 10:59 EDT

China's Alleged 'Jack The Ripper' Arrested After Almost 30 Years

Police in northern China have arrested a man allegedly responsible for several "Jack the Ripper"-style killings.

Gao Chengyong, 52, was detained Friday at a grocery store in Baiyin, in Gansu province, the South China Morning Post reported, citing the country's Ministry of Public Security.

He has confessed to killing 11 women and girls between 1988 and 2002, according to the website, in Baiyin and Baotou in nearby Inner Mongolia. The youngest victim was eight years old.

Police say, according to China Daily, that Gao picked women dressed in red and followed them home, where he would rape and kill them.

They say he often cut their throats and mutilated their bodies, which drew comparisons in Chinese media to Jack The Ripper, the infamous killer in late 19th-century London who was never caught.

Many women in Baiyin were afraid to walk alone in the streets, according to China Daily.

The first murder occurred in May 1988, when a 23-year-old woman was found dead in a Baiyin home with over two dozen stab wounds, according to Beijing News.

Chengyong's eldest son was born the same year, the outlet reported.

Police offered a reward back in 2004 for information about the murders, Xinhua reported at the time, and said they were looking for a male suspect between 33 and 40 years old.

Unrelated investigation led police to Chengyong

But authorities only recently discovered Chengyong's DNA was a match for the serial killer's when they investigated his uncle for a minor crime, China Daily reported, and found that the uncle's DNA matched that of one of the killer's relatives.

The father of two liked ballroom dancing with his wife, news site reported, and Baiyin residents said he was quiet.

They were shocked to hear of the arrest. However, his wife may have been the most devastated — she reportedly said she wanted to end her life.


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