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[Newsmaker] Police seek another missing child in case of toddler’s death

A suspect in the child neglect case involving the death of a 2-year-old girl in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, is seen leaving a court in Daegu after an arrest warrant hearing last week. (Yonhap)
A suspect in the child neglect case involving the death of a 2-year-old girl in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, is seen leaving a court in Daegu after an arrest warrant hearing last week. (Yonhap)
A police investigation looking into who had left a 2-year-old girl alone in an empty house for months continues, after her death reported last week ignited a public uproar.

The toddler named Boram was found dead on Feb. 10 in the southeastern city of Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province. Police arrested a 22-year-old woman surnamed Kim on charges of homicide and child neglect as they suspected she had left the child alone as she remarried.

Recent DNA test results showed, however, that Kim’s 48-year-old mother, known by the surname Seok, was the biological mother of the dead child.

Police arrested Seok last week on charges of child abduction, suspecting that Seok secretly switched Boram with her daughter Kim’s child after they were born around the same time.

Seok has claimed that she never had a daughter, and there were no hospital records of Boram’s birth.

Seok’s husband told the police that he was not aware of her pregnancy or that she had given birth.

The couple live in the same multi-unit dwelling, according to the Gumi Police Station.

Three criminal profilers have been trying for the past week to trace Seok’s actions, but there has not been much progress.

Seok has denied the alleged child swap and the fact that she had a baby about three years ago.

Police found that Kim gave birth to a daughter on March 8, 2018 at a hospital in Gumi, and suspect that Seok had given birth slightly earlier.

DNA test results showed that neither Seok’s husband nor her two lovers were Boram’s biological father.

Police suspect that there is a high chance that Seok forced Kim to keep Boram, and abandoned Kim’s child.

Police said they are focusing on finding Kim’s biological daughter.

MBC-TV disclosed photos of Boram on its Youtube channel on Saturday in an appeal to the public for information on the case.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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