Religious couple arrested in death of their three kids

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Religious couple arrested in death of their three kids

Police yesterday filed arrest warrants for a minister and his wife who are suspected of starving as well as beating their three, sick children with belts and a fly swatter in what they believed to be a religious treatment for illness. The couple thought that if they beat the children it would cast out their demons, which they thought were causing their children to be sick.

According to the Boseong Police, they have arrested 43-year-old minister Park and his wife Cho, 34 for killing the children inside their church.

It said that the couple gave out 39 lashings at a time, on four separate occasions, to each of their three children - a 10-year-old girl and two boys, aged 5 and 8 - on Feb. 1 to 2 to cast out what they thought were demons that had been causing their sickness since mid-January.

The police said that the couple testified during interrogation that they followed Proverbs 23:13-14 of the Old Testament, which reads “Withhold not correction from the child: For if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

The police said that it decided to arrest the couple as soon as it found several marks on the children’s bodies after conducting autopsies and also found that they hadn’t eaten since Jan. 23. The police added that the children may have died from complications arising from colds or pneumonia. They are still trying to find the exact cause of death. The parents testified earlier that they had not given their children any medicine, only prayers. The children never got better, so they then fasted and prayed every other day after Jan. 25.

The police said the 8-year-old son first died at 10:00 a.m. on Feb. 1. The daughter and the other boy followed at 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. the next day. The parents also said that the daughter coughed up blood several times before she died.

“We’re trying to figure out whether the beatings are actually what killed the children,” Hwang Seok-hyun, the investigator at the Boseong Police told the JoongAng Ilbo. “

The police said it found the children lying dead in a room of the Boseong Church in Boseong County in South Jeolla, Saturday. The police said the children’s parents were offering up prayers in front of the children’s corpses in order to revive them when they visited the church after receiving a call from the children’s uncle, surnamed Lee, 55.

Lee told the police that he visited the church at 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, as he worried about the family because none of them, including the couple and his nephews, had answered calls for more than a week. Lee testified that the parents later answered the phone before he visited the church, but never put the children on the phone.

The police said that Park came to the village in March 2009 and has been running the church as a lay-minister. The denomination of the church is Plymouth Brethren.


By Yoo Ji-ho, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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