Police in South Korea investigating the case of a three-year-old girl who was left to starve to death at her home have arrested the child’s biological mother and sister.
The remains of the little girl were found at a flat in the city of Gumi on February 10.
Her body had become completely mummified, local media reported.
Investigators believe she had died from starvation up to six months earlier.
The police were called to the apartment when the child’s remains were found by her maternal grandmother, Seok, and Seok’s husband.
They had received a phone call from their daughter Kim’s landlord, saying they had not been able to contact her and her lease had expired.
As she had not paid any bills for months, the electricity had been disconnected.
Local media reported that the girl’s body had remained relatively intact because she had died in an apartment that was closed up and without electricity, and because the conditions had been extremely cold and dry.
Case takes bizarre turn
The case took a bizarre turn when DNA tests revealed in March that the girl’s mother Kim turned out to be the victim’s biological sister – not her mum.
Investigators found that the little girl’s apparent grandmother Seok was actually her biological mother, and had unloaded her newborn onto her eldest daughter to raise with her then-husband.
“While Seok insists the test result is incorrect, there is no way the NFS (National Forensic Service)‘s conclusion is incorrect – as the DNA samples have been tested for ultimate precision,” police said in a statement.
DNA testing also revealed that Seok’s husband was not the child’s biological father.
The police are currently trying to work out who the girl’s real father is.
Police believe that after Kim divorced her then-husband, Hong, in April last year, she abandoned her younger sister to her fate in the flat and went off to live with a new man.
To confuse matters further, local media also reported that Kim had given birth to a child of her own around the same time as her mother gave birth.
The whereabouts of that child are unknown, with police trying to track her down.
As the effective guardian of the toddler who died of starvation, Kim faces charges of child neglect.
Seok was arrested on March 10 and both suspects remain in preventive detention as the investigation continues.