Woo Cheol-won, Jo Ho-yeon, Kim Young-gyu, Park Chan-in and Kim Jong-sik, aged between 9 and 13 years old, disappeared after searching for salamander eggs in the western outskirts of Daegu on a public holiday. Their disappearance received widespread attention and caused a national media frenzy, and President Roh Tae-woo ordered a massive manhunt by the police and military to find them.
On September 26, 2002, the remains of the boys were discovered near where they went egg searching, with some showing signs of blunt-force trauma. The investigation has been inconclusive and theories abound about their deaths. The statute of limitations expired in March 2006 and the case remains unsolved.
The five boys were between 9 and 13 years old:
- Woo Cheol-won (aged 13)
- Jo Ho-yeon (aged 12)
- Kim Young-gyu (aged 11)
- Park Chan-in (aged 10)
- Kim Jong-sik (aged 9)
All five boys were from the Dalseo District of Daegu and attended the same elementary school. A sixth child, 10-year-old Kim Tae-ryong, left the group to go home and eat, having missed breakfast that morning.
Circumstances and disappearanceEdit
March 26, 1991, was a public holiday in South Korea for local elections, and the boys decided to spend the day searching for frog eggs in the streams of Mount Waryong ( ) in Dalseo on the western outskirts of Daegu. The boys never went home, and after they were reported missing, their story made national headlines. President Roh Tae-woo sent 300,000 police and military troops to search for the boys, with the searches shown on live TV. Several of the boys' parents quit their jobs to look for their children around the country. Mount Waryong was searched over 500 times.
Discovery of bodiesEdit
On September 26, 2002, a man searching for acorns discovered their bodies on Mount Waryong in an area that had been searched. He first reported the remains via an anonymous phone call. Initially, the police said they thought the boys had died of hypothermia. But their parents rejected that conclusion and demanded a full investigation. The families questioned the conclusion that the boys had simply died after getting lost due to the oddities of their clothes being found tied in knots and the discovery of their bodies a short distance from the village in an area the boys knew well. Forensic experts found the skulls of three of the children showed blunt-force trauma, possibly from metal tools. Police said the children could have been killed by someone who "may have flown into a rage."
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- Hwang Sun-yoon (11 October 2002). "'Frog boys' baffle investigators". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Hwang Sun-yoon (13 November 2002). "'Frog boys' probably murdered". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Statute Runs Out for Unsolved 'Frog Boys' Murder". Chosun Daily. 24 March 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "돌아오라 개구리 소년". Naver.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Missing persons ignored". JoongAng Daily. 28 September 2002. Retrieved 15 July 2011.