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With a lot of serial killers, their biographies start out with some sort of look at their early life. With Zhang Yongming, the earliest bit of his backstory we have was the time he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, back in 1979. But China released him in 1997, and the reasons for that are lost to history, along with details of the original crime.

The next news we have on Zhang came in 2011. People were going missing close to where he lived in Yunnan Province. A couple bodies turned up, and it definitely sounded like they had a serial killer on their hands. Police didn't look too hard at Zhang, though. They did hear he had a criminal history, but they figured he was a "lunatic," which they took to mean he couldn't be killing anyone. 

Zhang went on farming for a living, and playing chess. He also sold dried meat to villagers. He called this stuff "ostrich meat," and it did taste exotic. No one knew where he got the meat from, though, as he didn't keep ostriches.

In December 2011, a 17-year-old escaped Zhang's house with a belt around his neck. The farmer had been trying to strangle him, he claimed. Zhang laughed this off and said he and the boy had just been playing a game, and the police believed him. Finally, the family of one missing man pushed police to search Zhang's home. They found the missing man's phone in there. They also found human eyes preserved in alcohol, as well as plenty of other assorted human remains.

Investigators managed to tie Zhang to 11 different murders, and China sentenced him to death. As for that "ostrich meat"? Turns out it was actually dried turkey.

Just kidding. It was the dried human flesh of his victims, of course. 

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For more serial killer tales, see also:

5 Terrifying Serial Killers Who Never Got Caught

5 Unsolved Crimes Too Creepy For Hollywood

I Hunt Serial Killers: 6 Facts You Thought Movies Made Up

Top image: YBag Media/Unsplash

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