Law enforcement officials on both sides of the Pacific believe a self-proclaimed Chinese martial arts expert accused of abandoning his toddler daughter at an Australian train station also murdered the girl's mother before fleeing to the Los Angeles area.
New Zealand police revealed Thursday that they believe Nai Xin "Michael" Xue, 54, murdered An An "Annie" Liu, 27, and that he then left the couple's 3-year-old daughter, Qian Xun Xue — dubbed Pumpkin by Australian authorities — at a Melbourne train station.
Liu's body was found stuffed in the trunk of her husband's car.
"Preliminary findings from the pathologist are that she died during a violent episode," Auckland police said Thursday, referring to Liu.
The case took on another bizarre twist after it was revealed Wednesday that Xue had retrieved a ceremonial samurai sword from police before fleeing last week to Melbourne with the little girl.
As the international manhunt for Xue continued, police also are searching a book he wrote about a martial arts trip he took to the U.S. about 15 years ago, hoping it might hold a key to Xue's whereabouts.
Chinese Herald editor Gerry Yang said the book, "Inner Strength Martial Arts Shocks United States," had a lot of detail about the friendships Xue made in San Francisco and other U.S. cities while promoting his own special kung fu code.
Xue's adult daughter from his first marriage spoke for the first time Wednesday and described his violent outbursts.
"In the end I come to the conclusion some people are just not nice and I need to move on with my own life," 27-year-old Grace Xue, who has not seen her father in five years, told New Zealand television last night.
"(I) wasn't heavily abused, but there was slap in the face, shutting me in the bedroom, lots of yelling," she said. Xue, who now has a young son of her own, said she was shocked when she first heard about the abandonment of Pumpkin, her 3-year-old half sister, now in foster care in Melbourne.
"The first thing that came to my mind was 'how awful'. Who could you do that to their own child.
"Then I realized that she could be my half sister and I really worried about her wellbeing.
"I was surprised at the way he left the little girl. But I'm not surprised that he abandoned her.
"I'm not surprised that he would leave a child."
Investigators believe Liu was carrying on an affair with "a little bad and very cute" married man, but then returned to her cruel and jealous older husband. New reports said the woman also had advertised on singles Web sites.
In a blog entry on August 29, she wrote that she and Qian Xun lived with her lover and his two-year-old daughter in a "love nest" for nearly two months before leaving in tears when his wife returned.
On what may have been the final night of her life, Liu made a poetic entry in Mandarin on her personal blog in which she lamented losing her lover, but looked forward optimistically.
"What's beautiful remains beautiful, the glorious glorious, so why haggle over the length of time? A flower falls, tomorrow another will bloom."
The little girl's grandmother yesterday said she was planning to fly from Hunan, China to melbourne after her daughter's funeral to claim the child.
Grainy security camera footage at Melbourne's Southern Cross railway station from Saturday show a man walking through the station hand in hand with a little girl in a red smock.
At the bottom of an escalator he bends down and says something to her before walking away, wheeling a suitcase behind him.
When police found her 15 minutes later, the girl was crying, still standing beside the escalator.
Police named the little girl Pumpkin — after the brand name of her smock — before uncovering the identity of the girl and her father.
Even before the discovery of Liu's body, early suggestions the family was happy and successful were starting to unravel.
Xue arrived in New Zealand from China about 10 years ago and Liu came five years ago as a language student.
They married in 2003, with friends saying Liu agreed to the match with a much older man to gain residency in New Zealand.
The Australian contributed to this report.