South Korean woman in New Zealand suitcase murder case involving 2 children spent time in mental hospital: report
- Korean TV show claimed that in December 2021, the woman went to hospital with stab wounds and evidence of rape and strangulation by a mysterious man
- Suspect is accused of two counts of murder in relation to a case where bodies of two children were believed to have been stored in suitcases in a storage locker
A woman arrested in South Korea over the deaths of two children whose bodies were found in suitcases in New Zealand claims to have been stalked and sexually assaulted, a Korean TV show reported.
The programme, I Want to Know, an investigative true-crime show by Korean broadcaster SBS, also claimed the woman had spent time in a mental health hospital.
The woman, who was arrested in Ulsan, South Korea, in September is currently being held in Seoul awaiting an extradition hearing that New Zealand police have made an application for.
She told reporters at the time she had not killed the children.
The woman, 42, is a New Zealander of Korean descent and is the children’s mother, the programme said. She had been living in the Gangnam district in Seoul since 2018, the year she left New Zealand to move back to South Korea.
The show claimed that in December 2021, the woman went to hospital with stab wounds and evidence of rape and strangulation by a mysterious man.
Police however found no evidence of the alleged assaulter and believed the wounds were from self-harm. The woman was later placed in a mental hospital, the show said.
Any details that would identify the children have been suppressed in New Zealand and details of the woman’s mother, who lives in New Zealand, is also subject to a non-publication order.
I Want to Know showed blurred images of the family.
Reporters from the show spoke to the woman’s mother, who was reportedly surprised by the sudden disappearance of her daughter and grandchildren, and relieved that her daughter was still alive.
The mother said she was aware that the daughter had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital and that she had no children when she contacted her.
The show said the woman lied to people about the children when asked, saying that they were at an orphanage or with her parents.
It also spoke to her university friends and people who knew her after she returned to Seoul, who said they did not know she had been married or that she was a mother.
“University classmates remembered her as an active and ordinary friend. They found her to be very westernised, very talkative and seemed to lead a very active life,” it said.
The show, which spoke to the woman’s neighbours, claimed it was her husband – who died of cancer around 2017 – who mainly looked after and played with the children.
It claimed the woman did not allow even her close friends to come to her husband’s funeral.
The woman is accused of two counts of murder. The bodies of the two children were believed to have been stored in suitcases in a storage locker for around four years before being found in August by a family who won a storage unit auction.
The woman was contacted by the storage company last October after money had not been deposited to pay for the unit, the programme claimed.
New Zealand police said they could not comment as the matter was now before the courts.