Cabbie on cross discovered by man of the cloth

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Cabbie on cross discovered by man of the cloth

The passerby who stumbled upon the body of a former taxi driver nailed to a cross and wearing a crown of thorns is a former Christian minister who ran a blog followed by the crucified man.

The crucified man, Kim Jun-bong, and the former minister, Ju Hyeon-su, met once two years ago, police said yesterday.

They said that the site of Kim’s crucifixion, atop an abandoned quarry in Mungyeong, North Gyeongsang, was only five kilometers (3.1 miles) from the former minister’s residence.

Kim lived 190 kilometers away, police said, and Ju was the only person he appeared to be acquainted with in Mungyeong.

Police are investigating whether Ju assisted Kim in the crucifixion, or whether Kim crucified himself in Ju’s neighborhood for some reason.

Kim, 58, was found May 1 on a cross measuring 187 centimeters (73.6 inches) high and 180 centimeters wide, wearing only white underwear and a crown of thorns, and flanked by two smaller crosses. He appeared to have drilled holes in his palms with an electric drill before mounting the cross and impaling himself on its nails. He had a 10-centimeter wound on his lower right abdomen, similar to one of the wounds Jesus Christ suffered during his crucifixion. Police speculated that his death took place April 29, which was Good Friday.

Ju, 53, told police that when he visited the quarry on May 1 to look for a place to set up bee hives, he found the cross and the body, but didn’t know it was Kim.

According to Mungyeong police, Ju ended his pastoral duties in Seoul in 2006, and moved to Mungyeong to raise bees.

Since 2002, Ju has run an Internet blog counseling people about religion. Kim was a member of Ju’s Internet blog since 2008, police said, and the two met in person two years ago in Mungyeong. Police said that Kim told Ju at the meeting: “I should become Jesus Christ.”

Ju told police he thought the comment was strange and he changed the topic to bee-keeping.

According to police, Ju said he “has not heard from Kim since 2009 nor contacted Kim” and added that “Kim has only posted one comment on my blog since we met two years ago.”

According to the police investigation, Kim sold his private taxi and vacated his rented room in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, in late March. In early April, he purchased an SUV and two planks of lumber at a lumbermill in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang.

Police are assuming that Kim, described by friends as a religious fanatic, took his own life. But they said yesterday they were investigating further, including checking the call history on Kim’s mobile phone, in case Ju or anyone else helped Kim crucify himself, or whether it was a ritualistic murder.

Police are still waiting for a forensics report to determine the exact time and cause of Kim’s death. Police said the results are expected in 10-15 days.

“While fingerprint identification on tools discovered in Kim’s car is being carried out, more details of the case will be revealed,” said Chung Ji-chun, chief of the violent crime unit at the North Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency.


By Hong Gweon-sam, Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

십자가 시신 부근 톱·드릴서 핏자국…DNA 검사 요청

자살·타살 밝혀줄 열쇠될 듯
시신 발견 전직 목사도 수사

십자가에 못 박혀 숨진 김모(58·경남 창원시 가음동)씨 사건의 원인 규명을 위해 경찰이 현장에서 발견한 톱·드릴·칼에 대한 DNA 검사를 5일 국립과학수사연구소에 요청했다.

경찰은 지난 1일 문경시 농암면 궁기리 소재 둔덕산 8부 능선 폐채석장에서 발견한 김씨 시신 부근에서 발견한 공구에 대해 간이검사를 해 혈흔 반응을 확인했다. 이들 공구에서 핏자국이 뚜렷하게 나와 DNA를 확인하게 되면 김씨가 자살한 것인지, 타살된 것인지 가려질 것으로 보인다. 그러나 시신이 발견되기 전인 지난달 22일과 30일 문경 지역에 각각 39㎜, 37㎜의 비가 내린 탓에 DNA 검사에 필요한 핏자국이 충분히 남아 있지 않을 가능성도 있다. 김씨는 지난달 22일 이전에 숨진 것으로 추정된다.

이 사건을 수사 중인 경북 문경경찰서는 이날 시신 발견자인 양봉업자 주모(53)씨도 조사했다. 주씨는 사건 현장인 폐채석장에서 5㎞가량 떨어진 곳에서 살고 있는 데다 2년 전 김씨를 만난 적이 있다. 목사 출신인 주씨는 5년 전 서울에서 문경으로 이사해 양봉업을 하고 있다.

경찰은 주씨가 김씨를 알게 된 경위와 사람의 왕래가 거의 없는 폐채석장에 가게 된 이유를 조사했다. 경찰은 문경에 아무런 연고도 없는 김씨가 이곳에서 숨졌고, 그의 시신을 발견한 사람도 주씨라는 점에 주목하고 있다.

주씨는 경찰에서 자신이 운영하는 종교상담 카페에 김씨가 2008년 회원으로 가입했으며 이듬해 문경으로 찾아와 한 차례 만났다고 말했다. 이때 김씨가 “내가 예수가 돼야 한다”는 등 이상한 말을 했다고 진술했다.

주씨는 채석장을 찾은 이유로 “다른 지역에서 온 양봉업자가 벌통을 놓을 장소를 찾아 달라고 부탁해 채석장으로 갔고, 십자가 모양의 이상한 물체가 보여 가 보니 시신이 매달려 있었다”고 진술했다. 주씨는 “2년 전 김씨를 만난 뒤에는 연락하거나 접촉한 적이 없다”고 말했다. 그는 “숨진 사람이 김씨라는 사실도 경찰관에게 듣고 나서 알았다”고 덧붙였다. 

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