Court seeks to hold couple who killed daughter

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Court seeks to hold couple who killed daughter

After a husband and wife were arrested on Sunday on charges of abusing and murdering their adopted daughter and then burning the body to destroy the evidence, the Incheon District Court has issued detention warrants for the couple on Tuesday.

According to the Namdong Police Precinct in Incheon, the couple bound their 6-year-old daughter with duct tape and left her alone for 17 hours. The parents claim that the girl suffocated to death. After she died, the couple burned her body and buried her remains at the base of a nearby mountain.

The couple said during police questioning that they habitually bound the child with duct tape and struck her as punishment for being “too gluttonous.”

“The couple claims the child did not cry when she was bound with duct tape on the day she died,” said police, “from which we suspect habitual abuse over an extended period of time, unlike the two months that the couple report.”

A police investigation revealed that the 47-year-old father has 10 previous convictions. The couple, however, was able to legally adopt the girl despite the man’s criminal record.

The Act on Special Cases Concerning Adoption, amended last year, requires that when adopting through an agency, candidates must submit a pre-qualifying screening of their marriage and home, as well as proof of parental education.

The Health and Welfare Ministry and local governments also provide home care allowance and medical care assistance for adopted children until the age of 16. Local governments check with an adoptive family from the time of the pre-qualifying screening for at least two years after.

When adopting without the use of an agency, however, this falls under the civil code and can be done without strict regulation. The required pre-qualifying process is simpler, as biological parents and adopting families exchange background information, primarily financial means, after which the court’s permission is typically given. A post-adoption check-up is also not required, as most individuals prefer not to publicize their adoption.

Police said the couple had lived together since 2006 and registered their marriage only before they adopted the girl in 2014. The birth mother and the couple’s neighbor said she was friendly with the couple and trusted them with the child.

The court permitted the adoption after receiving the biological mother’s consent form and proof of the man’s employment. His criminal record and post-adoption check-up were not required.

“The birth mother kept in touch with the couple without realizing the couple’s abusive practices,” said police.

BY CHOI MO-RAN [kim.yuna1@joongang.co.kr]

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