Adopted girl dies from duct tape punishmentA middle-aged couple was arrested Sunday for allegedly binding their 6-year-old adopted daughter with duct tape for 17 hours and, when she suffocated, burning her body on a mountain.
The couple denied intentionally killing the girl and said she was being punished for being "too gluttonous."
Police requested a pre-trial detention warrant Monday for the 47-year-old man and his 30-year-old wife on charges of murder, physical abuse, as well as the mutilation and abandonment of a dead body.
A 19-year-old woman living with the couple in Pocheon, Gyeonggi, was also apprehended on the same charges. Police identified the teenager as a daughter of the father’s close friend, who allegedly took some - if not equal - part in the crime.
The three suspects said during police questioning that they habitually struck the child with their bare hands or a fly swatter because she didn’t obey orders.
Last Wednesday night, they allegedly bound the girl up with duct tape and left home, returning 17 hours later to find her struggling to breathe.
The adoptive mother claimed she performed CPR on the child before she took her last breath. The three moved the body to the couple’s car Friday and drove to a nearby mountain. They allegedly burned the body to hide the evidence.
They then drove to Incheon and reported to the police and girl’s birth mother, whom they were friendly with, that they lost the victim at a festival there.
The distraught birth mother logged online and uploaded photos of her daughter on Naver, begging web users to help find her.
The suspects told her they would remain in Incheon until they found the child.
The birth mother was the couple’s neighbor. She gave her daughter up for adoption two years ago after getting divorced, citing financial difficulties.
The plot was busted when police retrieved CCTV footage of the festival and discovered the child was never with the three suspects.
When police visited the mountain on which the body was burned, several bone parts and strands of hair were found. The remains were sent to forensic labs to determine whether they belonged to the girl.
Authorities said they would question teachers from the victim’s day care center on whether the child had shown any signs of physical assault such as bruises. Her medical records will also be reviewed for further clues.
Police said the child appeared not have gone to her day care center for at least a month.
BY CHOI MO-RAN, LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]