In 2012, Ma Jixiang’s family members buried his cremated remains in Xiangtan, Hunan. Or so they thought.
NetEase reports that Ma, a mentally disabled man, disappeared in 2009, slipping out when his siblings weren’t looking. After three years of waiting, his family received a phone call from the police saying that the long-lost man may have died in a car crash.
A forensic lab deduced that the man might have been Ma Jixiang. His family decided to test the DNA for more accurate results. The result did not eliminate the possibility that the deceased man had the same father as Ma Jixiang’s brother. Therefore, the Ma family assumed the worst.
His family members wanted to make sure that he would live comfortably in the other world, so they spent a few thousand RMB to build a luxurious gravestone that resembled a miniature mansion for Ma, complete with two golden lions, and laid his ashes to rest.
Ma Jiaxiang later visited his own grave and kowtowed in front of it.
Three years after his death, Ma was brought home, still alive. The DNA test was either inaccurate or not exact enough. Based on conversations with Ma, journalists guessed that he was forced to work for an illegal brick factory during his disappearance. At 58 years old, he was thrown onto the streets of Hengan city due to his old age. He was later found there.
Ma currently lives in a retirement home where he hopefully will not escape again. Meanwhile, the family of the buried man is still probably wondering where he went.
By Amy Yang
[Images via NetEase]