The remains of a three-year-old girl was found at an apartment in Gumi city, in the North Gyeongsang Province of Korea, on Feb. 10, 2021.
According to Korea Times, the toddler died of starvation about six months ago.
Found by the maternal "grandmother"
The local police force were dispatched to the apartment unit after the girl's maternal "grandmother" Seok, 49, and grandfather visited the apartment unit on Feb. 10, right above their residence.
They had visited it after receiving a call from the landlord, as the lease for the unit had expired but Kim, the girl's "mom", had been uncontactable.
The story took a bizarre twist however as on March 10, it was revealed that Kim, 22, who had been arrested for child neglect, was not the biological mother.
DNA tests revealed that Seok was the biological mother.
Allegedly swapped child
Korea Times reported that Seok, who had given birth around the same time as Kim, had allegedly swapped her child with Kim’s and made Kim raise the girl as Kim’s daughter.
When questioned however, The Straits Times reported that Seok had told reporters that she did not give birth to another child, insisting the DNA results were false.
The police in response said, “While Seok insists that the test result is incorrect, there is no way the [National Forensic Service's] NFS’s conclusion is incorrect — as the DNA samples have been tested four separate times for ultimate precision.”
Further DNA tests suggest that the grandfather, Seok's husband, is not the biological father of the girl.
Girl was abandoned in August 2020
Kim and her ex-husband, Hong, had allegedly been living in the unit together until their divorce in April 2020.
However, according to Koreaboo, Kim allegedly neglected the child, and in August 2020, moved out of the apartment unit to live with her new husband.
She decided to leave the child behind, allegedly saying that she “did not like the baby girl because she came from Hong".
Autopsy reports revealed that the toddler died from starvation, contradicting initial suspicions that she could have been killed first before Kim left the home.
Police are still combing through Seok's contacts to identify the actual biological father.
Revision to child abuse laws applies
The case comes in the wake of another abuse scandal involving the death of 16-month-old Jung-In, who died in October 2020 after months of abuse from her adoptive mother.
According to the Korea Herald, an amendment to the child abuse law, known as the Jung-in Act, was passed in Parliament on Feb. 26, making the death penalty possible for child abusers, even if they did not intend to cause death.
Under the revised law, those found guilty of child abuse can now face the death penalty or imprisonment for up to seven years.
Image via Hankyung and YTN News