Autopsy shows boy likely abused

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Autopsy shows boy likely abused

The autopsy results on a young boy whose body parts were discovered last week frozen in his parents’ house more than three years after he vanished from school revealed on Tuesday that the 7-year-old may have suffered habitual abuse.

The latest clues, presented by the National Forensic Service and announced by local police in Bucheon, Gyeonggi, puts the victim’s parents one step closer to a murder conviction - a charge the mid-aged couple has adamantly denied.

Forensic officers found a “myriad” of marks on the boy’s face and head and presumed they were caused by beating, Bucheon police said, adding that a more thorough report on the autopsy will follow in the coming days.

The boy’s mother reportedly told police during investigation that her husband “consistently inflicted corporal punishment” on their son while he was alive, but denied the allegations that he had beat his son to death.

The father, surnamed Choi, and his wife, Han, both 34, continue to claim that the boy passed out one day in October 2012, when he fell while Choi was forcing him to take a bath. The suspects claim they did not take him to the hospital and kept him at home until one day in November, he “suddenly died.”

Their statement, however, contradicts the results by forensics experts, who said there were no signs the 7-year-old sustained a concussion.

“If he were to have really died from that shock, according to the couple’s argument, there would need to be some kind of head trauma, like a dent in his skull,” a police officer said. “But so far, none have been found.”

On Friday, police arrested Choi and Han over suspicions they killed their 7-year-old son in 2012, mutilated his body and then stored parts of the body in their home refrigerator. The couple claim Choi was single-handedly responsible.

Authorities apprehended the couple two days after the boy’s school called the Bucheon Police Precinct to report that the parents of a boy who had been missing for years sounded “suspicious” when called about his whereabouts.

The call, which the school was forced to make as part of a national initiative to track down absent children, was made three years and nine months after the first-grader disappeared from school.

The last day the boy attended school was April 27, 2012.

It remains unclear exactly what happened during the six months the boy stopped appearing at school and the date his parents claim he died.

However, police said that they had discovered medical documents indicating that the last time the 7-year-old went to the hospital was in July 2012, which indicates he may still have been alive at the time.

The couple also has an 11-year-old daughter, who was recently moved to a child care facility.

Police will file the case with the prosecution this Friday.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, CHOI MO-RAN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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