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 was the subject of two films, Come Back, Frog Boys (1992) and Children (2011) and several songs.
The five boys aged 9 to 13 who disappeared were:
- 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
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. 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 live on TV. Several of the boys' parents left their jobs to travel around the country to look for their children. During the search, the police received over 550 false leads. Mount Waryong was searched more than 500 times before the boys were found.
Remains discovered and result
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. 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. 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. Forensic experts discovered that the boys had been murdered with repeated blows to the head and that one had been shot in the head with a shotgun. In 2006, the statute of limitations expired on the boys' quintuple murder case, so even if it was solved, they would be unable to prosecute anyone for the murders. The police said that they would nevertheless continue their investigation, to uncover the truth. A funeral service was held for the boys on March 25, 2004, and their skulls were donated to medical research.
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