A couple was arrested Sunday on charges of strangling their newborn baby to death and abandoning his body in the southern city of Geoje, police said, the latest in a series of child abuse cases involving unregistered babies.
A woman in her 30s and her partner in his 20s were charged with strangling the baby to death and burying his body on a mountain after the child died in their home in Geoje, 331 kilometers south of Seoul, five days after he was born in September last year.
The two had initially claimed they found the baby dead on the morning of Sept. 9 and buried his body on a mountain the following day, but later confessed that they killed him and abandoned the body in a stream, officials said.
The couple told police they were struggling financially and were afraid they would be forced to separate if their parents found out about the baby. The father strangled the baby while the mother watched, officials said.
Police have launched a search for the body while asking the Coast Guard to check whether any reports have been filed of a baby's body being found since the day it was buried. It was the latest in a series of shocking child abuse cases revealed after the government launched an investigation to check the well-being of more than 2,000 undocumented babies born since 2015, following the discovery of two unregistered newborns in a home refrigerator last month.
On Sunday, the Suwon District Court in Suwon, 30 km south of Seoul, had also planned to hold a hearing on an arrest warrant for a woman accused of starving her infant to death in 2019, but she decided not to attend the hearing after admitting to all charges against her, officials said.
The woman, in her 20s, was put under emergency detention Friday on charges of neglecting her baby son and letting him starve to death by not feeding him for three days at her previous home in Daejeon, 139 kilometers south of Seoul, after giving birth in April 2019.
The court is expected to decide on the warrant later Sunday.
According to the police, the woman left her ex-boyfriend four years ago without knowing she was pregnant. She gave birth to her child alone at a hospital in Daejeon but did not report the child's information to the local government.
The baby's body has not been found yet, the police said.
Authorities initially searched the mountains near the suspect's previous home in Daejeon for the body after she said she buried it near her old home there. She has since repeatedly changed her story, telling the police different locations, they said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency