Mother, son buried friend alive on farmA 55-year-old woman surnamed Lee and her son were both arrested on Thursday for burying her friend alive on her husband’s farm. The two face charges of murder and abandoning a corpse, while Lee’s husband has since committed suicide after police came to search his property.
On July 14, Lee called up her 49-year-old friend for a drive in Seongnam, Gyeonggi. They were longtime friends, having met at a social club in Seongnam over a decade ago. Lee’s 25-year-old son drove while Lee handed her friend a cup of coffee laced with sleeping pills. The mother-and-son pair drove to the farm of Lee’s husband in Cheorwon County, Gangwon, where they buried her friend alive.
Police began investigating the disappearance on Aug. 10, leaving open the possibility that the friend was being held against her will, given the inactivity they saw on her phone and bank account.
In September, police received reports that Lee had met the victim before her disappearance, and were able to confirm that Lee’s son had rented a car and driven to Cheorwon. Last Friday, the court issued an arrest warrant for Lee and Park on suspicion of holding the victim in confinement. Police arrested the two on Nov. 28.
The same day, police went to search the property of Lee’s husband. Though the 62-year-old husband was not regarded as a suspect, he hung himself in a storage room when they arrived, after excusing himself to the bathroom.
Lee and her son confessed to the crime late Tuesday. “She made me look like a thief,” Lee said.
In June last year, the victim had asked Lee to bring her some belongings from the home she was sharing with her abusive partner. But after the victim’s partner reported Lee to the police for larceny, the victim did not defend Lee. Lee was subsequently convicted and fined.
“After arriving at Cheorwon,” Lee’s son testified, “my mother stayed at my father’s home while my father and I moved the victim to the farm and buried her.”
Police retrieved the victim’s corpse from the farm on Wednesday. Because the body was partially decomposed, police will have to conduct an autopsy in order to determine the exact cause of death. Bundang Police of Seongnam, Gyeonggi, were issued an arrest warrant for Lee and Park on Thursday for murder and the abandonment of a corpse.
Lee and her son are being held in separate police stations so they cannot coordinate their stories.
BY KIM MIN-WOOK AND KIM EUN-JIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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