More than 8,000 police are still searching for a missing baby who was left in a stolen car on Monday morning, local police said Tuesday morning.
The stolen car, a gray Toyota RAV4 SUV, belongs to a local resident surnamed Xu. The car was stolen around 7 a.m. Monday in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province.
Xu parked the vehicle in front of the supermarket he runs and entered the store to turn on a stove, leaving his two-month-old baby in the back seat without shutting off the car's engine.
Xu came out from the supermarket minutes later only to find that his car was stolen with the baby still inside. He called the police immediately.
"We won't hold you accountable, only if you stop the car and ensure the safety of my child," Xu and his relatives implored via a local traffic radio broadcast.
The stolen car was found near a primary school in Yongfa Township in the city of Gongzhuling Tuesday morning, although the baby was not in the car, local police said.
An entrance guard, who reported to the police, said a man in his 30s, about 1.8 meters tall, parked the car there Monday and told him the car was his friend's. The man said he would return to drive away the car at night, but didn't appear until this morning.
According to the latest reports from China Central Television (CCTV)'s Weibo account, the suspected man abandoned the car and took a minibus. The driver of the minibus has been found, but the driver told the police that the man didn't take a baby when he got on the minibus.
The license plate of the car and the clothes of the baby were found in a ditch beside a road, 500 meters away from the abandoned car.
The municipal public security bureau of Changchun has launched a city-wide hunt and dispatched more than 8,000 police to look for the baby on the streets and in residential communities and parks.
Local residents have volunteered to organize search parties to look for the missing baby.
Large numbers of private car owners and cab drivers have also joined in the search, looking around the city and nearby villages for the missing child. Neighboring provinces are aiding municipal police in the search as well.
A taxi driver surnamed Liu said he and dozens of other cabbies have been looking for the child since hearing about the disappearance Monday morning.
"I was starving and needed something to drink. When I went to pay for some food and water at a supermarket, a private car owner told me he would pay for me. I was touched when he said it isn't easy for cabbies to earn money, as he recognized that I'd given up work to look for the baby," Liu said.
Film celebrity Yao Chen has joined in the search efforts as well, using her microblog account to encourage more people to look for the child.
"Changchun citizens and the thousands of policemen, you warm the cold spring. The man who stole the car, if you heard the broadcast, please place the baby in a safety place so we can find him. Do something kind, please," a netizen named "Xiaoyezi" wrote on the Internet.
Local police are still investigating the case.