Warrant issued to hold ‘Molar Daddy’ daughter

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Warrant issued to hold ‘Molar Daddy’ daughter

A Seoul court issued a pre-trial detention warrant for “Molar Daddy” Lee Young-hak’s 14-year-old daughter Monday, citing fears that she may flee or destroy evidence related to the murder case of her friend.

The teenager, whose name has been withheld, is accused of handing the victim a drink on Sept. 30 after inviting her to her house in Jungnang District, eastern Seoul, knowing Lee had put sleeping pills inside it.

Lee took the victim to his bedroom and groped her, then strangled her to death the next day when she woke up screaming. The father-and-daughter team loaded the body into the trunk of a vehicle and drove to Gangwon, dumping it on a mountainside.

Police, after failing to detain Lee’s daughter earlier last month on a charge of abandoning the corpse, added another charge of luring a minor and asked the court again to put her behind bars. The court had previously struck down the detention warrant for the teenage accomplice, saying she was physically unstable and was protected by the domestic Juvenile Act.

On the separate investigation of Lee’s wife, who leapt to her death in September at age 32, police said they were investigating whether her 35-year-old husband played any role in her suicide.

Lee’s wife sued Lee’s stepfather, a 59-year-old surnamed Bae, on Sept. 1 for several counts of rape, five days before killing herself. She left behind a note that said she suffered from sexual violence.

Bae committed suicide last week. A note found in his pocket asked police to vindicate him, saying he could not keep his head held high due to the shame of being accused of rape.

Police have so far found at least nine men who confessed to buying sex from Lee’s wife, which Lee could have brokered. Four others are being probed. Channel SBS reported last Friday that Lee posted an online message three days after his wife died, searching for a woman who was willing to move in with him, which police said they would also investigate.

Of the more than 1.2 billion won ($1.1 million) Lee raised through charity since 2005 in order to treat his daughter, who has the same illness as he does, Lee is thought to have used at least 1 billion for personal expenses, according to police.

Lee and his daughter share a rare genetic disorder called gigantiform cementoma, a hereditary tumor that causes disfigurement of the jaw and teeth. The illness left Lee with only one molar tooth. Lee picked up the nickname “Molar Daddy” after appearing in several TV documentaries since 2006 to discuss the disorder and raise money to treat his daughter.

BY HA JUN-HO, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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