Xue family murder and abandonment

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Nai Yin Xue
Nai Yin Xue Mugshot.jpg
Nai Yin Xue mugshot
Criminal charge Murder
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment, 12 years without parole
Criminal status Imprisoned
Spouse(s) Anan Liu (2004[1]–murdered 2007)
Children Grace Xue, Qian Xun Xue (abandoned 2007)
Conviction(s) Murder
Widely circulated image of Xue and his daughter at Southern Cross station

The Xue family murder and abandonment case involves the abandonment of a three-year-old girl, Qian Xun Xue (薛千寻 in Simplified Chinese) also known as Clare Xue, at Southern Cross station in Melbourne, Australia, the murder of her mother, Anan (Annie) Liu (劉安安), in Auckland, New Zealand, and the search for and subsequent capture of her father, Nai Yin (Michael) Xue (薛乃印), in the United States of America.

The case attracted widespread media coverage in both Australia[2] and New Zealand. It also gained attention in the United States after being featured in an episode of the television show America's Most Wanted.

On 28 February 2008, Nai Yin Xue was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.[3] He was deported to New Zealand, and convicted of the murder of his wife in June 2009.

Initial case[edit]

Qian Xun Xue was abandoned near the base of an escalator at Melbourne's Southern Cross station on Saturday 15 September 2007[4] by her father, Nai Yin Xue, who boarded a flight to Los Angeles later that day.[5] Originally unable to ascertain her real name, police in Melbourne nicknamed the child Pumpkin due to the Pumpkin Patch brand clothing she was wearing at the time.[4] "Pumpkin" was soon placed in emergency foster care on 16 September.[6]

On Monday 17 September, police learned the identities of the girl and her father, who had flown from Auckland two days prior to the abandonment.[7] The girl's 27-year-old mother, Anan (Annie) Liu, remained missing until her body was found on Wednesday 19 September in the boot (trunk) of Xue's car at their family home in the Auckland suburb of Mount Roskill.[8][9]

Police handling[edit]

New Zealand Police left the car, where Ms Liu's body was later found (inside its boot), untouched for two days

Victoria Police gave information about Xue to Interpol, the New Zealand and U.S. police on 16 September.[10] Once Ms Liu's body was found, an arrest warrant for Xue was issued by New Zealand Police on 20 September and sent to Interpol in the United States who were quick to issue a 'red notice' asking the Los Angeles Police Department to find the wanted man.[10][11] However, the LAPD claimed they did not receive an arrest warrant from Interpol and that they required a warrant directly from New Zealand.[10] New Zealand police were quick to refute the claim and did not require to send another to the LAPD.[10] The Federal Bureau of Investigation also offered their help in finding Xue.[11]

New Zealand Police were criticised for bungling the investigation, including failure to discover Ms Liu's body in the parked car for at least two days, and slow response to issue a warrant for the arrest of Xue, allowing him to disappear in the USA.[12]

The United States Marshals Service issued a wanted poster for Xue, describing him as 'armed and dangerous'.[13] They recommended that if Xue was spotted, he should not be confronted.[13] He was also on the highly viewed television show America's Most Wanted.

Xue was since seen in Houston, Texas, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama.[14]

Arrest, trial and conviction[edit]

On Thursday 28 February 2008, a group of six people living in an apartment block in Chamblee, near Atlanta, Georgia recognised Mr Xue from a photograph in the Chinese-language press. They attempted to inform the police but had difficulty in making themselves understood. In frustration, they captured him themselves.[15] They removed his pants and tied them around his legs. They used his belt to tie his hands behind his back until police arrived to arrest him.[3][16]

Xue initially attempted to provide a false name but he was identified from his New Zealand driver's licence. He had been on the run for 24 weeks.[17] His overstay in the United States without an appropriate visa meant that he was liable for deportation rather than extradition.[18]

Xue was deported to New Zealand on 9 March 2008 to face murder charges over the death of his wife.[19][20] His trial began on 2 June 2009.[21] The prosecution presented evidence of ongoing violence and threats by Xue to his wife, while the defence argued that Anan Liu had been unfaithful and died in a sexual misadventure. On 20 June, Xue was found guilty of Liu's murder.[1] On 31 July, Xue was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of twelve years.[22]


Custody of the child was sought by her maternal grandmother, Liu Xiao Ping, from China. The child also has a half sister, Grace Xue, who claims also to have been abandoned by their father at the age of 19, weeks after she arrived in a foreign country. The half sister, now 27, expressed an interest in caring for the child although they had never met.[23]

Qian Xun returned to Auckland on 24 September 2007 where she was soon reunited with her grandmother.[13] On 4 October 2007, the Family Court in New Zealand granted custody of Qian Xun to her grandmother, and visitation rights to her half sister, Grace Xue.[24] Shortly after, Qian Xun returned to China with her grandmother on 6 October 2007.[25]

A trust fund for public donations, set up by Grace Xue, raised $NZ40,000 but the money was rejected by Qian Xun's grandmother. The money is now likely to be held in trust for Qian Xun's future use.[26]


  1. ^ a b AAP (20 June 2009). "Pumpkin's dad guilty of murder". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 June 2009. 
  2. ^ How to talk to children about Pumpkin The Age, 19 September 2007
  3. ^ a b "Pumpkin's fugitive father captured in America". News.com.au. 29 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Plea for 'Pumpkin': please come forward The Age, 17 September 2007
  5. ^ Where is this little girl's mum? The Age, 18 September 2007
  6. ^ "Relative" abandoned Pumpkin The Age, 17 September 2007.
  7. ^ Revealed: the man who left 'Pumpkin' The Age, 17 September 2007
  8. ^ Body found in car The Age, 19 September 2007
  9. ^ Miletic, Daniella (20 September 2007). "Liu and Xue 'not happy in life', friends say". The Age. Australia. 
  10. ^ a b c d Murder and kidnapping warrant issued for Xue Sydney Morning Herald, 20 September 2007
  11. ^ a b Arrest warrant for Pumpkin's dad Archived 17 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. News.com.au, 20 September 2007
  12. ^ Police bungle Pumpkin case The Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2007
  13. ^ a b c Pumpkin's back in the family The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 September 2007
  14. ^ Fugitive Nai Yin Xue sighted in Houston, New Zealand Herald, 22 February 2008.
  15. ^ Feagans, Brian (18 March 2008). "Kung fu pose leads to fugitive's demise | ajc.com". ajc.com. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Pumpkin's dad caught, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 February 2008.
  17. ^ "Dumped child's dad spoke of betrayal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 March 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2008. 
  18. ^ "US rush to deport Pumpkin's father". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2 March 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2008. 
  19. ^ "Pumpkin's dad to be extradited". CNN. 29 February 2008. Retrieved 29 February 2008. 
  20. ^ "'Pumpkin's' dad deported to New Zealand". CNN. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  21. ^ "'Distressed' Xue sought destinations — lawyer". The New Zealand Herald. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  22. ^ Ritchie, Kerri (31 July 2009). "Xue gets life for wife's murder". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 31 July 2009. 
  23. ^ Miletic, Daniella (21 September 2007). "Little girl lost rekindles pain". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 September 2007. 
  24. ^ "Grandmother gets custody of abandoned 3yo". ABC News Online. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2007. 
  25. ^ "'Pumpkin' Qian Xun Xue arrives in China". Herald Sun. Australia. 8 October 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2007. 
  26. ^ "Pumpkin's family rejects money raised". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 April 2008. Archived from the original on 29 April 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2008.