Foul play suspected in the death of 88-year-old

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Foul play suspected in the death of 88-year-old

Police on Thursday requested that the court grant an autopsy in an investigation into the death of an 88-year-old woman.

The woman, only identified by her surname Ham, was found dead around 4:50 p.m. on Wednesday in her two-story home that she owned in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

Her body was discovered by a tenant who was subleasing a unit on the first floor of the house.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, Ham had marks on her neck consistent with having been strangled to death and her hands had been bound together with a shoestring.

Authorities are investigating the likelihood of foul play in the elderly woman’s death. “Based on the state of the body, we suspect she was killed a few days before she was found,” a police official said.

The police said they have also obtained a statement from the wife of Ham’s nephew, surnamed Kim, in which she claimed that a man wearing a mask had attempted to break into the house about two weeks ago. “We shouted at him until he ran away but didn’t file a police report at the time because there was no harm,” Kim said.

According to authorities, Ham was last seen Feb. 23, when she went out to visit a nearby oriental medicine clinic.

Ham’s two-story house is valued at 2 billion won ($1.8 million). She also owned another 132-square-meter (1,423-square-foot) apartment in Gangnam.

Kim said the elderly woman had saved her money since she was young and had started out as a hairdresser. She added that Ham had strictly managed her money.

Ham’s husband passed away six years ago and the couple did not have children, though Ham visited her nephews from time to time, police said.

BY NOH JIN-HO, PARK YUNA [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]




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