Frog Boys

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The Frog Boys (Korean: 개구리소년Gaegurisonyeon) is a group of five murdered South Korean boys who disappeared on March 26, 1991 while frog-hunting. Their bodies were found 11 years later.

The incident has been the subject of two films: Come Back, Frog Boys (1992)[1] and Children (2011). There are also several songs referencing the case.[2]

Victims[edit]

This phone card, with the photos of the boys, was used to raise awareness and help find them. In Western culture, the boys are one year younger than the ages listed here (due to Korean age reckoning)

The five boys were between 9 and 13 years old:[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)

Circumstances[edit]

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 (35°52′01″N 128°30′47″E / 35.867°N 128.513°E / 35.867; 128.513).[4] 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 and military troops to search for the missing boys,[3] with the searches shown on live TV.[5] Several of the boys' parents left their jobs to travel around the country, looking for their children.[3] Mount Waryong was searched over 500 times.[6]

On September 26, 2002, a man searching for acorns discovered their bodies in the mountain, an area that had been previously searched. He first reported the remains via an anonymous phone call.[7] 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.[8] Forensic experts discovered that the boys had been murdered with repeated blows to the head[9] and that one had been shot in the head with a shotgun.[10]

Aftermath[edit]

The initial cause of death was believed to be hypothermia. The boys' parents did not accept this and demanded a full investigation;[3] among their reasons, they said, that the boys' clothes had been tied in knots. The parents also said the children were found in an area they knew well.[11]

In 2006, the statute of limitations expired on the case. This means authorities cannot prosecute anyone for the murders.[12] The police said they will continue the investigation to get answers.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "돌아오라 개구리 소년". Naver.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Missing persons ignored". JoongAng Daily. 28 September 2002. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ "After Discovery of Taegu Remains, Cause of Death Still Uncertain". Korea Times. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Sung-Kyu Kim (27 September 2002). "Police Continue Excavation, Find Loaded Shell Near the Site". Dong-A Ilbo. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Hwang Sun-yoon (11 October 2002). "'Frog boys' baffle investigators". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Hwang Sun-yoon (13 November 2002). "'Frog boys' probably murdered". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Keum Won-seob (12 November 2002). "'Frog Boys' Concluded as Murdered". Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Hwang Sun-yoon (11 October 2002). "'Frog boys' baffle investigators". JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Statute Runs Out for Unsolved 'Frog Boys' Murder". Chosun Daily. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2011.