In death in a doctor’s house, police fear murderWhen a doctor at one of the capital's top hospitals reported in January that his pregnant wife had slipped in the bathtub and died, it seemed like a tragic household accident.
But police suspect there was no accident at all, and that the husband strangled the eight-months pregnant hagwon English teacher. A local court refused to issue an arrest warrant, however, because “there’s still a likelihood that the woman died by accident” and the suspect’s rights must be protected.
The unnamed husband, 32, a resident at one of the capital’s top hospitals, has strongly denied any guilt.
At 5 p.m. on Jan. 14, the doctor reported to police that he discovered his wife dead in the couple’s bathtub, according to Mapo District police. During questioning, he told investigators that he assumed his wife slipped in the tub. The fetus was also dead.
But an autopsy by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation on Feb. 1 came to a different conclusion, police said.
Forensic pathologists found the 29-year-old woman had been strangled to death and they found her husband’s DNA under the dead woman’s blood-stained fingernails. She was expecting her first child this month, investigators said, and had been teaching English to elementary school students at a hagwon in Anyang, Gyeonggi, until the day before her death. The couple was married two years.
On Feb. 3, police sought a warrant to arrest the husband on a charge of murder, but were rejected by a local court the following day. The Seoul Western District Court explained it turned down the request to detain the husband because his guilt wasn’t obvious and “chances are unlikely that the man will flee or destroy evidence.”
Police said they have circumstantial evidence to prove his alleged guilt. They said they are suspicious that the husband didn’t answer phone calls from his wife’s hagwon on Jan. 14 when she didn’t show up for class. The doctor said he left home early that morning to study in a library in the neighborhood and couldn’t answer the calls, police said.
The man continues to deny any guilt, and has suggested another person might have killed his wife.
Police said they plan to seek another warrant. Choi Jong-sang, the investigator in charge of the case, said he’s “absolutely sure that the husband is responsible for his wife’s death.” According to Choi, “There were scars on both faces of the couple.”
Lee Chang-yeol, a judge in charge of the court’s public relations, said issuing an arrest warrant doesn’t determine the suspect’s innocence or guilt.
“It’s just a legal procedure,” Lee said.
By Kim Mi-ju, Kang Shin-who [email@example.com]
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만삭 의사부인 사망 미스터리
남편 “욕실서 미끄러져 숨졌다”
부검 결과 목 압박 질식사 판명
혈흔에 남편 DNA … 영장 신청
법원선 “사고사 가능성도” 기각
지난달 14일 서울 마포구의 한 오피스텔에서 출산을 한 달여 앞둔 A씨(29)가 싸늘한 주검으로 발견됐다. 그녀는 서울의 유명 대학병원에서 레지던트로 근무하는 남편 B씨(32)와 결혼해 2년 만에 첫 아기를 가졌다. A씨는 만삭의 몸으로도 경기도 안양의 한 어린이영어학원 교사로 일할 정도로 건강했다.
이 사건을 수사한 서울 마포경찰서는 남편 B씨를 유력한 용의자로 보고 지난 4일 서울서부지법에 구속영장을 신청했다. 그러나 법원은 ‘도주와 증거인멸의 우려가 없고, 사고사의 가능성이 남아 있으며, 피의자의 방어권을 보장할 사안’이라며 영장을 기각했다.
경찰에 따르면 B씨는 사건 당일 오후 5시쯤 ‘아내가 욕조에 숨진 채 쓰러져 있는 것을 발견했다’며 신고했다. 그는 경찰 조사에서 ‘아내가 욕실 바닥 등에 미끄러져 숨진 것으로 보인다’고 말했다.
하지만 부검 결과 A씨의 사인은 ‘목 압박에 의한 질식사’로 밝혀졌다. 고인의 손톱 아래 묻은 혈흔에선 남편의 DNA가 검출됐고, 남편 얼굴엔 상처가 나 있었다. 경찰은 ‘부부싸움 후 우발적인 살인’으로 보고 B씨를 범인으로 …