Expat identified as the mother of dead babies found in freezer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2006, 12:00am

In a case which has become increasingly bizarre, South Korean police have identified the mother of two babies found in a freezer as the wife of the French expatriate who originally reported the discovery.

Previous tests have already revealed that the husband, Jean Louis Courjault, was the father of the dead baby boys. He has denied paternity.

Police launched an investigation in late July after Mr Courjault reported finding the bodies in the freezer of his apartment after temporarily returning from France where he had been holidaying with his wife and two sons.

Tests, carried out using DNA found on a toothbrush and cotton buds thought to belong to his wife, revealed a genetic relationship between her and the two baby boys 'consistent with matrilineal descent', according to the police.

Scientists also compared DNA of the couple's 11-year-old and eight-year-old sons, obtained from belongings in the house, and compared this with DNA of the dead babies, confirming all the boys had the same mother.

'The female DNA samples also matched the DNA samples of the couple's other two sons, and based on the circumstances, the mother has to be the French woman,' said a police spokesman.

Tests have revealed that the babies were not identical twins but scientists have yet to determine whether the boys were twins or brothers born separately.

Although they have not ruled out the possibility of surrogate birth, police also revealed that the woman had a hysterectomy in December 2003, suggesting the babies may have been born before the family moved into the apartment in August 2005.

'They may have been abandoned a long time ago, between August 2002 when the couple came to Korea and the end of last year, ' said a police spokesman.

The police have come under fierce criticism for allowing Mr Courjault, who works for a car-parts manufacturer in South Korea, to resume his holiday.

The family were due to return to South Korea in late July but has failed to do so.

'Since the results have revealed that his wife is the mother of the babies, there's a possibility they will not come back,' the police spokesman said. 'We have to see how they respond to this new finding.'

South Korean police are to request the co-operation of French authorities and police but there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.


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