2 missing, 1 suicide in mystery case

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2 missing, 1 suicide in mystery case


Two people are missing and another has committed suicide in a perplexing case in Geochang, South Gyeongsang, that has police scratching their heads.

A 46-year-old businesswoman surnamed Lee has been missing since Sept. 21, Geochang police said, after she told her family that she had an appointment with a 63-year-old business partner surnamed Kim.

Police said that Lee had loaned about 40 million won ($35,500) to Kim and that she had gone to meet him to be repaid.

A police investigation, launched after Lee’s family reported her missing, has named Kim as the prime suspect after finding evidence around Kim’s home. Kim is also missing.

After struggling to find leads, police said that they found on Friday Lee’s Hyundai Sante Fe SUV buried five meters (16 feet) in the ground in Kim’s front yard. Lee wasn’t in the car.

Police said that Lee had driven the vehicle to Kim’s house around 8 p.m. on Sept. 21. CCTV footage from nearby streets confirmed that Lee had made her final phone call to Kim in Wicheon Township, where Kim lives.

After they found Lee’s vehicle, the police said, they also have found an excavator in a secluded area about 200 meters from Kim’s house. Police believe that the excavator was used to bury the SUV because they found paint chips on it from the vehicle.

Police have tried to reach Kim for questioning but have not been able to find him. An arrest warrant was issued on Saturday for Kim on charges of damaging personal property.

On Tuesday morning, Kim’s 32-year-old son jumped to his death from the 13th floor of an apartment building. Police said they assume the son committed suicide after feeling pressure from the police investigation. A note was found that read, “The police are exerting pressure in order to make my family my father’s accomplices.”

Before taking his own life, Kim voluntarily presented himself at a local police station and told police that he believed that his father may have murdered Lee.

“My father said that the body was buried somewhere the police would not able to reach,” Kim told the police. Kim said that he urged his father to turn himself in but that he didn’t listen.

Based on the son’s testimony, police believe Kim’s involvement in Lee’s disappearance is likely and have begun searching for Lee’s body in nearby reservoirs and hills in Geochang.

By Hwang Sun-yoon [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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