Frog Boys

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The Frog Boys (Korean: 개구리소년) were a group of five South Korean boys who disappeared on March 26, 1991. The boys had gone to nearby Mount Waryong to catch frogs but never returned. Their bodies were found 11 years later. Although it was discovered that they had been murdered, the case has never been solved. The incident has been the subject of two films; Come Back, Frog Boys (1992)[1] and Children (2011) and several songs.[2]

The boys[edit]

This image is from a phone card showing the photos of the 5 boys. Note that Korean age is counted differently and the boy's ages according to western culture are 1 year younger than on the card

The five boys aged 9 to 13 who disappeared were:[3]

  • 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)

Disappearance and search[edit]

March 26, 1991 was a national holiday in South Korea owing to the 1991 local elections. The boys decided to spend the day catching frogs in the streams of Mount Waryong.[4] 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,[3] with the searches shown live on TV.[5] Several of the boys' parents left their jobs to travel around the country to look for their children.[3] During the search, the police received over 550 false leads.[6] Mount Waryong was searched more than 500 times before the boys were found.[7]

Remains discovered and result[edit]

In 2002, a man searching for acorns discovered their bodies in an area of the mountain that had already been searched. He first reported the remains via an anonymous phone call.[8] Initially, the police stated that they thought the boys had died of hypothermia. However, the parents did not accept that conclusion and demanded a full investigation.[3] The families questioned the conclusion that the boys had simply died after getting lost due to the oddities of the boys' clothes being found tied in knots and of their bodies being found a short distance from the village in an area the boys knew very well.[9] Forensic experts discovered that the boys had been murdered with repeated blows to the head[10] and that one had been shot in the head with a shotgun.[11] In 2006, the statute of limitations expired on the boys' quintuple murder case, so even if it were solved, authorities would be unable to prosecute anyone for the murders.[12] The police said that they would nevertheless continue their investigation, to uncover the truth.[12] A funeral service was held for the boys on March 25, 2004, and their skulls were donated to medical research.[13]


  1. ^ "돌아오라 개구리 소년". Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Missing persons ignored". JoongAng Daily. 28 September 2002. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hwang Sun-yoon (27 September 2002). "Bodies of 5 'frog boys,' missing since 1991, found on mountain". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "실종국교생 5명 3일째 행방묘연". Yeonhap News. 28 March 1991. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Fictional resolution mars movie about unsolved murder". JoongAng Daily. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Kim Rahn (22 February 2011). "Calls growing for removal of statute of limitations for crimes against children". Korea Times. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "After Discovery of Taegu Remains, Cause of Death Still Uncertain". Korea Times. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Sung-Kyu Kim (27 September 2002). "Police Continue Excavation, Find Loaded Shell Near the Site". Dong-A Ilbo. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Hwang Sun-yoon (11 October 2002). "'Frog boys' baffle investigators". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Hwang Sun-yoon; Chung Ki-hwan (13 November 2002). "'Frog boys' probably murdered". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Keum Won-seob (12 November 2002). "'Frog Boys' Concluded as Murdered". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Statute Runs Out for Unsolved 'Frog Boys' Murder". Chosun Daily. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  13. ^ Hong Gweon-sam (26 March 2004). "Boys murdered 13 years ago are buried". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011.