S. Korean Couple Beat, Starve Children to Death

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A pastor in [the South Korean city of] Boseong, South Jeolla Province, and his wife were arrested Sunday for allegedly beating their three children and starving them to death.

Police said the 43-man-old man, identified as Park, allegedly whipped his children with a belt for two days before he starved them to death. His 34-year-old wife is also suspected of having assisted him in killing the children.

The couple told detectives that they did so in the belief that beating would cure their illness.

“They said their children had shown flu-like symptoms since last month. As none of them showed signs of improving, they began to seek God’s help afterwards. They believed a seven-day prayer and fast would cure them,” a police officer said.

The bodies of the dead children, aged five, eight and 10 were found Saturday at their home attached to the church owned by the pastor.

One of Park’s relatives found the corpses and reported the deaths to the police about 10 days after they had passed away. The relative visited Park’s house because his youngest son had been absent from kindergarten for days.

“When the relative visited, Park was praying by the dead bodies in a room with the doors locked,” the officer said.

“Park was still insisting he can bring his children back to life, claiming he and his wife had not prayed enough yet.”

Police discovered signs of physical abuse on their bodies. They also found that the children had eaten no food before they died.

The National Forensic Service conducted an autopsy on the children Sunday to find out the exact cause of their death, police said.

The pastor has run the church since 2009, and introduced himself as a pastor to his neighbors. However, he doesn’t have a pastor’s license, police said.

“The neighbors trusted Park because he owned and ran a church,” the detective said.