Missing soldier’s body finally found

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Missing soldier’s body finally found

The military has come under fire after the body of 25-year-old Second Lieutenant Park Jin-woong, who went missing on Dec. 29, was found dead near his base yesterday. The length of time he had been missing is arousing suspicions of a lackluster military police investigation.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, Park’s body was found hanging from a tree on a mountain about a kilometer (1,093 yards) from his military office at 2:05 p.m. yesterday. “He was wearing his uniform, and it looked like he had hung himself from the tree,” said a military spokesman.

Military officials had at first said they were conducting a thorough investigation into Park’s disappearance. But that didn’t appear to be the case after it took 28 days for his diary to be found in his barracks.

Park was commissioned last July with a bachelor’s degree in military science. He was serving as a platoon leader in charge of search operations in Cheorwon, Gangwon.

On the day of his disappearance, Park was supposed to lead his platoon on a search mission scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., according to the Defense Ministry. At around 11 a.m., after having lunch with soldiers under his command, Park had his temperature checked as required before being dispatched for a surveillance mission under military rules. The unit realized he was missing at around 12:30 p.m.

“The military said they have been conducting a thorough investigation into my son, but only found his dead body after 37 days,” wept Park’s father, 54. “They have been saying that it’s possible my son defected to the North and deserted while he was left on that cold mountain. I will listen very carefully to what the military has to say about this and find a way to carry out a thorough investigation into this case. I ask all media and people in the nation to pay attention to the case in order to prevent additional mysterious deaths in the military.”


By Choi Kyung-ho, Jeong Yong-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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