+ A

Autopsy reveals abandoned girl had broken ribs

Jan 01,2018
The results of an autopsy on the body of a 5-year-old girl found on a hillside in Gunsan, North Jeolla, announced on Sunday revealed that she had broken ribs, possibly as a result of external force.

The Jeonbuk Provincial Police Agency found the abandoned body of Koh Jun-hee on Dec. 29 buried 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) deep in the western coastal city after her father, surnamed Koh, confessed to his crime the night before.

“Quite a number of the bones on the back side of her body were found broken, including her ribs,” said the National Forensic Service upon concluding its preliminary autopsy on the body on Sunday. “The bones could have been broken as a result of external force.”

Deokjin Police Precinct in Jeonju, North Jeolla, detained Koh and a 61-year-old woman surnamed Kim, the mother of Koh’s 35-year-old girlfriend surnamed Lee, on the charge of abandoning a corpse on Saturday.

The police on Sunday detained Lee on charges of assisting in corpse abandonment.

Koh has repeatedly changed his testimony, adding to the confusion surrounding the case.

He and Lee reported his daughter missing on Dec. 8, telling police that she went missing after leaving her home on Nov. 18. A police officer who met them at the time recalled that they seemed distressed.

Koh also shouted, “I cannot live without my daughter,” according to police, and he handed out leaflets to coworkers at the factory where he worked in Wanju County, North Jeolla, asking for help in locating his missing daughter.

But when police questioned Koh on how he came to report his daughter missing some 20 days after she supposedly disappeared, Koh refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Police then began an investigation into Koh’s family on Dec. 15.

On Thursday, Koh confessed to police after they found his DNA, as well as DNA from his daughter and Lee in blood traces found in a hallway in front of Koh’s apartment.

He told police that he found his daughter dead around 11 p.m. on April 26 at Kim’s home, after dropping her and Lee off at the house earlier in the day. He 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.

Police found the body on Friday. Koh then changed his statement on Saturday, telling police that he found his daughter dead inside his car on the morning of April 26.

“I found my daughter dead inside my car on the morning of April 26, so I went to Kim’s house with Lee and the body, left Lee and the body there, and went to work,” Koh told police. “After work, I went back to Kim’s house and buried Jun-hee on a hillside in Gunsan.”

Koh denies having physically abused his daughter, police said.

But there are some discrepancies in the suspects’ testimonies. Kim had told police on Thursday that Koh’s daughter had “hit something and fainted.”

“We will find out exactly how Jun-hee died,” police said. “We are investigating the case from various angles.”

Police also said that there seemed to be a lack of sorrow on Koh’s part after the death of his daughter. On April 27, the day after Koh reportedly abandoned Jun-hee’s corpse, Koh posted a photo of a Gundam action figure on his social media account.

Two days after burying his daughter, Koh went on a family trip with Lee, Lee’s son and Kim.

Koh Jun-hee’s body was cremated on Saturday following the autopsy. Jun-hee’s mother and other relatives attended the funeral.

BY KIM HO, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]