Police question doctor suspected in wife’s death

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Police question doctor suspected in wife’s death

A doctor who is suspected of killing his eight-month-pregnant wife appeared for questioning yesterday at the Mapo Police Station in Seoul as a suspect.

The doctor, surnamed Baek, 32, who is a resident at one of the nation’s top hospitals, arrived at 1:30 p.m., and police questioned him based on autopsy findings that showed that his 29-year-old wife had been strangled

A second, supplementary forensic report by the National Forensic Service confirmed on Wednesday that the woman had been strangled and hadn’t died accidentally by slipping in a bathtub.

Baek, however, has strongly denied that he killed his wife.

Anticipating that Baek would endure a crush of reporters upon his arrival at the police station, Baek’s attorney was able to get police to allow Baek to enter through an underground parking lot, not the main entrance of the station.

Lim Tae-wan, Baek’s attorney, nonetheless, was critical of the police. He said police were wrong in considering his client as a suspect.

“Baek wants to unearth the truth about his wife’s death during the questioning,” Lim said. “Our original position was that she died by accident, but we are also looking into the possibility that a third person intruded into the couple’s home and killed her, after we saw the supplementary forensic report.”

According to police, Baek reported on Jan. 14 around 5 p.m. that he discovered his wife dead in the couple’s bathtub. During questioning, he told investigators he assumed his wife slipped in the tub. The fetus was also dead.

Forensic pathologists allegedly found Baek’s DNA under the dead woman’s blood-stained fingernails. Baek continues to deny any guilt and has suggested another person might have killed his wife. He also said his wife could’ve sustained wounds when slipping in the bathtub because of her advanced state of pregnancy.

She was expected to give a birth this month.

Baek failed a recent a polygraph test. Although he denied killing his wife, beating her or quarreling with her, the polygraph detected that he was lying.

Police are continuing to collect evidence in the case and plan to seek a warrant to detain Baek next week.

By Kim Mi-ju, Shim Seo-hyun [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article[중앙일보]
"의사 부인 목졸려 숨진 뒤 오피스텔 욕조로 옮겨진 듯"

국과수, 경찰에 의견서 제출

의사 부인 사망 사건과 관련해 국립과학수사연구원이 숨진 박모(29)씨가 목 졸려 살해된 뒤 욕조로 옮겨진 것으로 보인다고 결론을 내렸다.

 이 사건을 수사 중인 서울 마포경찰서는 국과수로부터 이같은 내용의 의견서를 전달받은 것으로 16일 알려졌다. 이에 따라 경찰은 피의자인 남편 백모(31·전공의)씨를 다시 불러 조사한 뒤 다음 주 초 살인 혐의로 구속영장을 다시 신청키로 했다.

국과수는 의견서에서 “박씨의 오른쪽 눈 앞머리의 상처에서 피가 중력과는 반대 방향으로 흐른 자국이 발견됐다”며 박씨가 욕실이 아닌 다른 곳에서 살해됐을 개연성이 있다고 제시한 것으로 전해졌다. 박씨의 시신은 고개를 앞으로 숙이고 다리를 밖으로 걸친 채 욕조 안에 누운 자세로 발견됐다. 이 자세로 숨졌다면 피가 뺨을 따라 아래 방향으로 흘렀어야 하는데, 시신에는 눈초리 위쪽으로 핏자국이 나 있다는 것이 국과수의 설명이다. 앞서 지난달 박씨 시신을 부검한 국과수는 “사고사로 보기 어렵다”는 소견을 밝힌 바 있다(본지 2월 12일자 보도).

 국과수는 또 백씨의 팔에 난 손톱 상처도 긁힌 방향과 손상 정도 등으로 볼 때 스스로 낸 것으로 보기 어렵다고 판단했다. “박씨가 부부 싸움을 하다 낸 상처로 보인다”는 경찰 측 주장에 대해 백씨는 “가려움증 때문에 긁다가 난 상처”라고 해명해왔다.

 그러나 박씨의 사망 추정 시간대는 좁혀지지 않은 것으로 알려져 백씨 측과의 공방이 예상된다. 임신 9개월이었던 박씨는 지난달 14일 오후 5시5분쯤 마포구의 오피스텔 욕조에서 숨진 채 발견됐다. 백씨 측은 “임신부 특성상 사고사 가능성이 있으며, 타살이라면 제3자의 범행”이라며 결백을 주장하고 있다.

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