Father confesses to dumping daughter’s corpse

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Father confesses to dumping daughter’s corpse

The father of a missing 5-year-old girl finally confessed on Thursday to dumping his daughter’s corpse on a hillside. The girl was reported to have been missing after leaving her home on Nov. 18, but police confirmed that she had been dead since April.

The Jeonbuk Provincial Police Agency found the abandoned body of Koh Jun-hee on Friday at about 4:50 a.m., buried 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) deep in the western coastal city of Gunsan, North Jeolla, after the father, surnamed Koh, confessed to his crime the night before. He reportedly crafted an alibi to cover up his crime.

“I found my dead daughter at 2 a.m. on April 27 at my home in Wanju County, North Jeolla, and buried her at a hillside in Gunsan,” the 36-year-old father told authorities during an investigation on Thursday. The father said he found his daughter covered in vomit with an obstructed airway and dumped her 47.3 kilometers (29 miles) from his house that day.

Koh was arrested on Friday without warrant for abandoning a corpse, along with his partner Lee, the girl’s stepmother, and Kim, the step-grandmother. Kim received an additional charge for being at the crime scene and not reporting it.

The exact cause of her death remains unknown, and police plan on carrying out an autopsy. Koh and Lee reported the child as missing on Dec. 8 and said the child disappeared when Kim, who took care of the girl at a villa in Jeonju, North Jeolla, stepped outside for a bit on Nov. 18.

When asked why they took 20 days to report the missing child, the couple responded that they “got into a huge argument and thought she was staying with the other partner.”

Koh is in the process of divorcing his wife, the mother of the dead child. After leaving his daughter and wife to live with Lee and her son in an apartment in Wanju, Koh’s wife left the 5-year-old girl in the security office at her father’s apartment in January. Koh took the girl in before reportedly sending her to live with Kim in April, as the girl kept getting into arguments with Lee’s 4-year-old son.

The father sent Kim 700,000 won ($658) for child support every month since April, “making it seem like Kim was actually taking care of the child, to strengthen his alibi,” said a source from the police agency.

Police became suspicious when Koh refused to cooperate with their investigation after he reported the girl missing.

Koh refused to be investigated with a lie detector and furthermore “remained silent when asked any questions he thought would disadvantage him.” Police then began an investigation into Koh’s family on Dec. 15.

Authorities also found no trace of the girl’s DNA on her blanket, pillow, floor or other areas of Kim’s villa, during their investigation in December.

Kim said that she moved to the villa on Aug. 30, but employees who moved her stuff claimed that they did not see any young girl while they were working. Police said they also did not detect any traces of the girl’s DNA at Kim’s previous home.

BY KIM JUN-HEE [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]
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