A six-year-old Chinese boy who had his eyes gouged out does not know he has been blinded and asks his family why the sun has yet to rise, state media reported Wednesday.
The boy, surnamed Guo, was found covered in blood in the northern province of Shanxi after he went missing while playing outside, Chinese media reported previously.
His eyes, gouged out by an attacker, were recovered nearby, a police officer in Fenxi county who declined to be named told AFP.
The boy was being treated at an eye hospital and was not yet aware that he has been left blind for life, the Beijing Youth Daily said.
"He asks why the sky is always dark... and why the dawn still hasn't come," it quoted an uncle of the boy as saying.
"We could only tell him that his eyes had some injury and have to be bandaged. (We tell him that) they will be fine after the bandage is removed.
"It is such a difficult question to explain to him. It is the most heartbreaking thing," he said.
Earlier Chinese media reports said the corneas were missing when the boy's eyes were found, leading to speculation that the attacker was an organ trafficker.
But police said Wednesday the corneas had been found attached to the eyeballs and ruled out organ sales as a motive, although they were unable to provide an alternative explanation for the attack.
"We are still working on it so we cannot offer any comment or make any assumption on the motives," the Fenxi officer said.
Police offered a 100,000 yuan ($16,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of the sole suspect, who they said was a woman. Reports said she drugged the boy before gouging out his eyeballs.
No-one had been detained by late Wednesday afternoon, domestic media said.
A video posted online Tuesday showed the boy -- who had a cleft palate -- writhing in agony on a hospital bed. Pictures posted online Wednesday showed him still heavily bandaged, apparently in less acute pain.
The brutal attack has shocked Internet users in China, who offered sympathy for the boy and demanded retribution against his attacker on the country's hugely popular microblogs.
His plight was the most searched news story on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, on Wednesday.
"This poor child, he must be suffering more than if he was dead and he has to live in darkness forever," said one poster. "We have to capture the criminal!"
Another wrote: "This is so cruel. I hope we can quickly capture the suspect and bring justice back! She is worse than a monster."
Doctors plan to implant artificial eyeballs in the boy's eye sockets after his inflammation subsides so that people will not be scared by his appearance in future, his uncle said according to media reports.