Father kills family and then jumps out window

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Father kills family and then jumps out window

A Gyeonggi man is thought to have taken his own life Thursday morning by jumping out of his 18th floor apartment in the city of Gwangju after killing his wife and two children.

The man, surnamed Choi, 48, reportedly called police at 9:06 a.m. to say that he had hit his wife, 43, with a hammer and that his 18-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter were dead.

Choi was found dead five minutes later on a sidewalk outside the apartment. His wife was discovered under the table in the kitchen, his son in the spare bedroom and his daughter in the main room. All three appeared to have been bludgeoned to death.

“The three were lying flat and there were no signs of a struggle,” a police officer said, adding that sleeping pills may have somehow been administered to the victims.

Autopsies have been requested with the National Forensic Service.

Police said Choi had been having with financial difficulties since a rental car business his wife started went bankrupt, which may have been a factor in the killings. He worked as a crane operator, they added, and in the winter season demand is usually slim.

According to authorities, Choi left a one-page note in which he wrote that he had been having trouble sleeping, and on Tuesday, he visited a nearby hospital to receive psychiatric treatment for depression.

A family friend told police that Choi had recently complained that the bank may foreclose on his house.

“We will investigate how much debt Choi and his wife had,” a police officer said.

A neighbor in the apartment complex told the JoongAng Ilbo that Choi’s two children were bright and that the family often went out together on the weekends.

The incident is the latest domestic violence case to make headlines since the parents of a 7-year-old boy in Bucheon, Gyeonggi, were arrested on Jan. 15 after the child’s mutilated remains were found frozen in the family’s refrigerator.

Lee Yoon-ho, a professor of police administration at Dongguk University, urged further public awareness over the proper roles and responsibilities of parents.

Economic difficulty often plays with biggest role in why parents kill their children, he said. Many believe death is a more humane option than falling into poverty.

BY LIM MYOUNG-SOO [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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