Remains of abandoned three-year-old foundThe mummified remains of a three-year-old girl were discovered on the third floor of a multi-unit house in Gumi, North Gyeongsang, where she lived with her mother until last August.
The discovery of the child’s remains was reported to police by her maternal grandfather, who lived on a lower floor of the house. He entered the third floor on Feb. 10 after the landlord asked that the house be vacated upon expiry of the lease.
The body was unrecognizable in its advanced state of decay and had entered a state of natural mummification.
Police on Sunday arrested the child’s mother, a woman in her 20s, on suspicion of murder.
They questioned her, and say she confessed to abandoning the child. “I divorced the child’s father a long time ago," the mother said under questioning, according to the police, "and I found the child difficult to raise alone. So I left her in the house when I moved out.
“I did not want to see her because she was my former husband’s child.”
According to police, the mother moved away in August, leaving the child alone. Even then, she continued receiving 200,000 won ($181.50) in child welfare payments from the local government and pretended to her parents that she was still living with the child. The woman has re-married and has a child with another man.
Police said that they would investigate the exact cause of the child’s death. “We are investigating whether the mother killed the child and abandoned the body in the house, killed her elsewhere and put the body in the house, or if she simply abandoned the child in the house," a police source said.
“We will also investigate if the mother abused the child when she was still alive.”
The National Forensic Service began an autopsy on the child’s remains on Feb. 11, the results of which will be announced between Feb. 18 and 21.
BY KIM JUNG-SEOK, MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]