Stepfather admits to girl’s murderPolice said Thursday that a man accused of murdering his stepdaughter and abandoning her body at a reservoir in Gwangju admitted to the crime on Thursday.
Police are facing criticism that they mishandled the situation. The girl died while police in Mokpo, South Jeolla, were transferring a sexual harassment complaint against the stepfather to the Gwangju Metropolitan Police Agency. The victim’s mother was arrested Tuesday as an accomplice.
The Gwangju Dongbu Police Precinct is currently investigating the 30-year-old stepfather, identified as Kim, and the 38-year-old mother, identified as Yu, over the case. Kim is suspected of choking his 12-year-old stepdaughter to death on a road in Muan County, South Jeolla, at around 5 p.m. on April 27. Police are considering the possibility that the murder was planned in advance as the couple called the victim through a payphone instead of their cell phones and had prepared tools for the crime. In the investigation, police found that the daughter testified against her stepfather to the police for sexually harassing her last month. According to police, on the day of the murder, Yu called her daughter, who was living with her biological father in Mokpo, South Jeolla, from a payphone near Mokpo Station. The daughter got in the sedan where Yu, Kim and her 13-month-old stepbrother were waiting for her.
“As I was driving the car, there was an argument between me and [my stepdaughter],” Kim told police. “I moved to the back of the car and killed her.”
The victim’s mother and stepbrother were allegedly both in the car when she was choked to death by her stepfather on the road near a farm in Muan County. The police suspect that Kim and Yu prepared duct tape and cord before the crime. After he killed his stepdaughter, Kim allegedly stopped by his house in Gwangju and drove around the area alone to find a place to hide the body. He found a reservoir in Gwangju at 5:30 a.m. on April 28. A sack with bricks was tied to her feet so that the body would not float back up. The body was found floating, fully clothed, by a passerby at 2:57 p.m. on the same day. Police then notified Yu of her daughter’s death. Kim turned himself in to the police three hours after the body was found.
On April 9, the victim’s biological father reported Kim to the police for sexually harassing his daughter. The father told the police that he heard from his ex-wife that Kim sent his stepdaughter pornographic videos and told her to send him pictures of her body. Four days after the call, the stepdaughter testified to police about the harassment. She had been living with her biological father in Mokpo after her parents split up nearly 10 years ago.
Mokpo police transferred the case to Gwangju police as the stepfather was living in Gwangju. While control over the case was being transferred, the victim was murdered 18 days after the case was reported to police.
“It took quite some time for all the documents related to the case to be transferred to us,” said an employee of the Gwangju police.
BY CHOI KYEONG-HO, JUNG MYUNG-SUK [firstname.lastname@example.org]