The five boys were between 9 and 13 years old:
- U Cheol-won (aged 13)
- Jo Ho-yeon (aged 12)
- Kim Yeong-gyu (aged 11)
- Park Chan-in (aged 10)
- Kim Jong-sik (aged 9)
March 26, 1991 was a national holiday in South Korea , thanks to the 1991 local elections. The boys decided to spend the day catching frogs in the streams of Mount Waryong. They never returned to their homes.
After they were reported missing, their story became a national sensation. President Roh Tae-woo sent 300,000 police officers to search for the missing boys, with the searches shown on live TV. Several of the boys' parents left their jobs to travel around the country, looking for their children. Mount Waryong was searched over 500 times.
In 2002, a man looking for acorns on Mount Waryong discovered the boys' bodies in an area that had already been searched. He first reported the discovery in an anonymous phone call. The children's funeral was held March 25, 2004; their skulls were donated to medical research.
The initial cause of death was believed to be hypothermia. The boys' parents did not accept this and demanded a full investigation; among their reasons, they said, were that the boys' clothes had been tied in knots. The parents also said the children were found in an area they knew well.
Forensic experts found one child had been shot in the head with a shotgun. The skulls of three of the others showed blunt-force trauma, possibly from metal objects. Police said it's possible the children were killed by someone who "may have flown into a rage."
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