중앙데일리

'Frog boys' baffle investigators

Oct 11,2002
DAEGU -- Police reported little progress Thursday in their efforts to determine the cause of the death of five boys whose remains were found here two weeks ago.

The team of forensics experts assembled to work on the case said it could take a very long time -- perhaps even years -- to sift through all the evidence and come up with a definitive cause of death. They added that because the remains are so deteriorated, it may be difficult to determine even with DNA testing whether the remains found are in fact those of the "frog boys" who disappeared in March 1991.

Police said they suspected the boys died of hypothermia after getting lost in the foothills of Mount Waryong.

The families of the five boys, who were last seen on their way to catch frogs near the mountain, said there were too many unanswered questions to presume that they got lost and died. For one, the families wondered why they would not have been able to find their way home from the spot where they were found, which is only about 300 meters from their neighborhood. Also, the area where they were found was searched thoroughly just after they disappeared and could have easily been uncovered during brush clearing work done there in 1998. Other questions are why one of the boy's clothes were tied in knots and why the boys would have taken off their clothes, despite the weather being rainy and cold the day they were reported missing.

Police are reportedly investigating evidence from the site where they were found that suggests they may have been killed, buried someplace else and their bodies later moved to the Mount Waryong area.

Kwak Jyung-sik, a professor leading the forensics team, said, "It has been quite a long time since they died and the samples we have been able to get from the remains are so small. "

The forensic experts insisted that the only way to determine the cause of death is through an exhaustive examination of the physical evidence, dismissing the many theories being offered by the media. "Experts from other sectors must be called in and additional tests need to be done. This work could take years," Mr. Kwak said.

The team said, however, that it and the National Institute of Scientific Investigation expect to issue a preliminary report on the most plausible causes of death as early as next month.

by Hwang Sun-yoon




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