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The Same Person? Or A Different One?

Posted May. 15, 2007 07:58,   


From the end of last year until early this year, four women have gone missing in southern Gyeonggi Province. One of them, who only goes by Park (36, female), was found dead a week after she was reported missing. The police changed the nature of the investigation from a missing person to murder, increasing the number of investigators and searching the surrounding areas in hopes of finding more victims. But they failed to find any clues. While the police investigation is going nowhere, experts who joined the investigation agreed that the police should deal with the case as “a de facto serial murder.” It was an unwelcoming development for the police who still shudder at the unsolved “Hwaseong serial murder.” The police have tried so far not to link the four missing cases with each other.

An Act by the Same Person?-

The four missing women are assumed to have been abducted in relatively open areas such as streets, roads, or near bus stops. The cellular phones of Park, who was found dead, Bae (45), and Park (52, an office worker) went dead in Bibong-myeon, Hwaseong-si. In particular, all of them including Yeon, a 20-year-old college student, are still unaccounted for.

Lee Soo-jeong, a criminal psychology professor at Kyonggi University, said, “The four cases are highly likely to have been committed by one person.” She opined, “It is typical that serial murderers develop their killing methods as they continue to commit crimes.” The deceased Park and the missing Bae were likely to have been kidnapped by the same person since they had similar lifestyles. Their workplace and work time were similar as they were assistants at karaoke establishments. Chang Seok-heon, a police administration professor at Soonchunhyang University, also said, “It is likely that the two may have known each other since they had the same jobs,” and said, “Chances are that one person committed the crimes.”

Possibility of a Serial Murder-

As the possibility that the crimes were done by the same person is growing, some worry that another serial murder is underway.

Pyo Chang-won, an administration professor at Korea National Police University, said, “The case is similar to the previous Ohn Bo-hyun incident and the Yongin serial murder case in that the murderer used cars to kidnap the victims.” Professor Pyo, who wrote a book titled “Serial Murders in Korea,” continued, “Seeing the way the murderer treated and abandoned the dead body, there are similarities with the Hwaseong serial murder and the Yoo Young-chul incident. It is a more elaborately prepared crime.”

There are differences as well. In the case of the Ohn Bo-hyun incident, he murdered people impulsively, saying, “I will kill the same number of women as my age.”

Jeong Seok-joon, who led the investigation of Hwaseong serial murder case, said, “In principle, the concept of ‘serial’ is limited to the case where one person employs the same ways to kill people,” and pointed out, “It is difficult to conclude that the four cases are linked to each other since female abductions often see similar tactics.”

How is the Investigation Going?-

The police are now engaged in searching and excavating in nearby hills in Sasa-dong, Ansan-si. They are also analyzing CCTV recordings on vehicles that passed the areas spanning from Bibong Interchange where the cell phones went dead to the location where the dead body was discovered. Despite these efforts, the police have failed to find any useful clues.

Hearing that the investigation has not produced any results, professor Pyo said that the police should systemize the investigation while opening all the possibilities including a serial murder. In other words, they advise the police to prepare for “a battle against time.”