Frog Boys

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The Frog Boys (Korean: 개구리소년) 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]


This image is from a phone card. 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)


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.[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 officers 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]

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.[7] The children's funeral was held March 25, 2004; their skulls were donated to medical research.[8]


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, were that the boys' clothes had been tied in knots. The parents also said the children were found in an area they knew well.[9]

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."[10]


In 2006, the statute of limitations expired on the case. This means authorities cannot prosecute anyone for the murders.[11] The police said they will continue the investigation to get answers.[11]


  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. ^ "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. ^ Hong Gweon-sam (26 March 2004). "Boys murdered 13 years ago are buried". JoongAng Daily. 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. ^ a b "Statute Runs Out for Unsolved 'Frog Boys' Murder". Chosun Daily. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2011.