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Arrest warrant sought again for doctor suspected of murdering pregnant wife

The prosecution asked a local court Tuesday to issue an arrest warrant for a 32-year-old doctor, who is suspected of killing his nine-month-pregnant wife, after an initial rejection earlier this month.

The prosecution and the accused husband are now confronting one another over what people labeled the “Korean O.J. Simpson case.”

The case dates back to Jan. 14, when police officers visited a studio apartment in Mapo, western Seoul, and found the doctor’s 29-year-old wife surnamed Park dead in a bathtub.

The report was made by her mother, who was worried by her daughter’s absence at her work. The husband, whose identification was not revealed except for being a doctor at a renowned hospital in Seoul, was out of reach and his mobile was turned off.

The investigators found several suspicious scars and bruises on Park’s body and the husband’s DNA in blood underneath her fingernails.

The National Forensic Service said Park seems to have suffocated to death. The police filed for an arrest warrant for the husband over the possible murder, but the Seoul Western District Court on Feb. 4 turned it down saying it is possible Park suffocated after she slipped on the floor or that someone else strangled her.

Police insist that the husband is the prime suspect in the death of the woman who had less than a month before she was due to give birth.

Had Park died accidently, there would have been serious injuries on her body to show the severity. But all that was found was a 1.5 centimeter-long wound on her spine and scars all over her body ― not enough to take her life, officers said.

“There are previous reports suggesting that strangling does not always leave visible marks. We suspect the couple to have had arguments and the husband killed the wife by accident,” the police said in a press conference.

The husband said he is devastated. He reportedly said, “It is a real tragedy that people did not allow me enough time to grieve over the loss of my wife and the child but accuse me of murder.”

He said he wasn’t able to take the police’s initial calls because he was studying for the medical license examination.

He said there was no reason for him to kill his wife and that they got along pretty well.

The husband claimed that Park may have slid in the bath tub and broken her neck which could have blocked her airway and resulted in her death.

He claimed the DNA could have been found under the wife’s fingernails because she had scrubbed his back several times. He said he and his wife both suffered from eczema and that she used to scratch herself and him to relieve the “intolerable itchiness.”

Some criminologists also backed the husband saying the murder lacks motivation and Park is just an easy suspect.

The police said the detention and further investigation will allow them to strengthen their theory. “We are open to all possibilities,” they said.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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