The identity of “Molar Daddy,” a suspect who confessed in the death of a 14-year-old girl last month, was unveiled Thursday following a police decision to disclose it for the sake of people’s right to know.
The suspect is Lee Young-hak, who years ago received public sympathy for suffering a rare, autosomal dental tumor himself and raising a daughter with the same condition. Lee was dubbed “Molar Daddy” because he had lost all his teeth except one molar due to repeated surgeries to remove outgrowing bones.
Lee Young-hak is a suspect referred to as “molar daddy” in a case involving the death of a 14-year-old girl. (Lee’s social media account)
Lee and his daughter are even introduced on Wikipedia’s page on the disease gigantiform cementoma as evidence it can be hereditary.
In self-shot photos on Lee’s social media, however, the 35-year-old suspect, who was once portrayed by local media as a devoted, struggling father trying to provide for his daughter’s costly medical treatments and surgeries, looks healthy and relaxed, with no sign of jaw disfiguration. His body is seen covered with tattoos.
Lee Young-hak (Lee’s social media account)
Tattoos are still considered taboo in Korea and only doctors are legally allowed to do tattoo art, although the law is not strictly enforced.
The murder case shocked the public as hints of the real face underneath Lee’s carefully crafted public persona began to emerge. It appears he was a sex trafficker for clients with unusual sexual desires and an obsession with teenagers. It is also alleged he may have sexually abused his wife, who took her own life two months ago.
Media reports have suggested he led a lavish lifestyle with the donations, owning several foreign cars. Lee, who has mental and intellectual disabilities, has also received a cash allowance from the government since 2007, and is classified as being in the lowest income bracket.
Police reportedly wrapped up an investigation, with the result to be announced and the suspect to be transferred to the prosecution Friday.
Lee, who has been arrested, allegedly talked to police about his motives behind the murder of the victim, a 14-year-old friend of Lee‘s 14-year-old daughter. He confessed to the killing Tuesday, but remained mum on his motives until Thursday.
Investigators suspect his daughter, whose identity is still being withheld, lured the victim to her house at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, and gave her drinks containing sleeping pills. Lee’s daughter then left the house alone at 3:40 p.m., was with other friends outside and came back home at around 8:15 p.m. Police suspect Lee of having killed the girl the next day and transporting her body in a black suitcase in a car where he abandoned it on a mountain in Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province.
His daughter admitted to assisting her father in disposing of the body. A hearing for her arrest was held Thursday at a Seoul court. The decision was not available as of press time.
The daughter of the “Molar daddy,“ accused of assisting her father to dispose of the body of her friend, allegedly killed by her father, arrives at the Seoul Northern District Court on Thursday for a hearing on her arrest warrant. She remains hospitalized after overdosing on sleeping pills together with her father. (Yonhap)
New testimony and potential evidence continued to surface Thursday.
A local media outlet revealed a video Thursday in which Lee filmed himself talking about how the girl died while driving home after disposing of the body. He said his daughter and the victim mistakenly ate a burger containing the sleeping pills. He also talked about his wife and how she was raped by his stepfather and had to die.
On his Twitter account, he had showed interest in teenage girls, posting an advertisement recruiting those aged between 14 and 20 to work with him at a massage parlor. The massage parlor was reportedly offering illicit sexual services. He also offered consultations with teenagers over their school or family problems via Twitter.
Local media reported that Lee had coerced his wife to sell sex to other men. Police analyses of Lee’s computer, digital camera and several phones suggested he had recruited prostitutes and connected them with prospective sex buyers, they said. Police reportedly secured several sex videos, some showing his wife. It is suspected he secretly filmed the sex scenes and uploaded the videos on adult websites to earn money.
Investigative authorities in Korea can decide whether to reveal a suspect’s name, age and image to the public if he or she is suspected of having committed a serious crime such as murder, rape or robbery. The identity of a criminal suspect is otherwise withheld, in line with the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”