An assistant economics professor at a liberal arts college in Iowa has been accused of killing her husband.
Dr. Gowun Park, 41, is now facing charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree murder for allegedly binding and gagging her husband, Sung Nam, 41, for seven hours until he finally succumbed to his injuries.
According to court records, Park bound Nam’s hands and feet with zip ties before using a rope to secure him to a chair in their home in West Des Moines between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday.
She then stuffed an item of clothing into her husband’s mouth and sealed it with duct tape before taping a towel over his head to cover his eyes.
Emergency responders answered a 911 call about an unconscious person at their home at 6:45 p.m. Upon arrival, they found Park performing CPR on Nam, whose lips had turned blue.
Park told officers that a distressed Nam requested to be untied shortly after 5 p.m. However, she refused to set him free.
Nam was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Ms. Park’s actions and in-actions were directly responsible for Mr. Nam’s death,” court records stated, according to KCCI News. “The injuries sustained by Mr. Nam were not self-inflicted. Ms. Park stated that the only people present during the duration of the events were her and her husband, Sung Woo Nam.”
Park’s employer, Simpson College, has since placed her on suspension and released a statement, via WHO-HD Channel 13 News, regarding her case:
“West Des Moines police have informed Simpson College that Dr. Gowun Park, Assistant Professor of Economics, has been arrested and charged in the death of her husband in a Des Moines suburb. The investigation is ongoing, and police have informed us there is no threat or any link to the campus community. The college has suspended Dr. Park and will cooperate with authorities in their investigation.”
Park’s arrest has shocked the campus, where she has been working since 2017.
“The recent news has left me and other classmates in shock,” sophomore advisee Kody Ricken told The Simpsonian, the college’s student newspaper. “We never would have expected her to do anything like this.”
Junior, Thomas Mussig, who also had Park as an academic adviser, recalled the professor saying that she has been single for three years. He also remembered her claiming that all her family is in South Korea.
“She was one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever known,” Mussig told the Des Moines Register. “This is really tough.”
Park will head to court on Feb. 28 for a preliminary hearing. She is currently held in the Dallas County Jail on a $5 million bond.
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