8-year-old’s eczema leads to murder, suicide

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8-year-old’s eczema leads to murder, suicide

A mother in Busan appears to have choked her 8-year-old daughter to death before hanging herself.

The mother left behind a suicide note saying she felt responsible for the worsening of her daughter’s serious eczema.

The bodies of mother and daughter were found in their home Monday by the daughter’s paternal grandmother.

The 33-year-old mother was found hanging in a bedroom, and the daughter was dead in the living room with choke marks on her neck.

According to the police, the daughter had suffered from atopic dermatitis, a dermatological problem that causes inflamed and itchy rashes, for about five years.

Her skin condition started worsening last August, and the mother stepped up the use of steroid ointment on her daughter.

The condition only got worse, and the rash spread to the daughter’s face and neck. She was known to hardly sleep at night due to the itchiness.

In recent days, the mother had reproached herself for choosing the wrong treatment. She believed the steroid medication had brought on side effects such as Cushing’s syndrome, a metabolic disorder that can be caused by excessive use of steroids, also known as adrenocorticotropic hormones.

“She got Cushing’s syndrome maybe because I used too much ointment, and I am afraid of its side effects,” the mother’s suicide note read. “My stupidity screwed up [her condition].”

Family members told police that on Sunday, a day before the bodies were discovered, the mother told her mother-in-law: “She is suffering this way because I gave birth to her.”

“We suspect that she decided to take her daughter’s life and her own because she believed that her wrong decision made her daughter’s condition worse,” said an official from the police.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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