The death of a 16-month-old girl in South Korea has caused massive outrage in the country after an investigative show pointed to her adoptive parents as the alleged killers.
What happened: The girl, known as Jung-in, who once appeared on a separate South Korean television show that highlights families with her adoptive parents, was rushed to the hospital on Oct. 13 by her mother, Yonhap News Agency reported.
- The child died from severe abdominal injuries and internal bleeding caused by “strong external force applied on her back,” according to the National Forensic Service. They also discovered fractured bones and bruises, which were signs of prolonged abuse.
- The child’s adoptive parents were eventually arrested. Jang, the adoptive mother, was charged with child abuse resulting in death, emotional abuse and neglect, while her husband, known by his surname Anh, was charged with child abuse and neglect.
- Police said that Jang recorded over 800 videos where she physically and mentally abused Jung-in.
How the outrage started: On Jan. 2, an episode of the investigative show “Unanswered Questions” analyzed what may have happened to Jung-in, and was aired on the South Korean broadcaster SBS, according to South China Morning Post.
- The team did multiple tests to determine how the girl died by using a mannequin resembling Jung-in and a woman with a similar weight and height as her adoptive mother, Korea Herald reported.
- The show attempted to replicate the extent of damage to Jung-in’s organs by having the woman jump from the couch and onto the stomach of the mannequin.
- While it was unknown how much force Jang used when she abused the child, to get to the degree of pancreatic rupture required a force between 3,800 to 4,200 newtons. A boxer was able to reach the latter amount in the show’s test in throwing a full, heavy blow.
- The show also looked at how the police failed to conduct a proper investigation into Jung-in’s case when several people filed reports months before her death.
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The aftermath: After the episode went viral in South Korea, around 230,000 social media users signed a national petition on Monday “to disclose the adoptive parents’ personal information and to charge them with murder.”
- The episode infuriated many Koreans who demanded stricter policies to ensure children’s safety.
- Several celebrities, including BTS member Jimin, also took to social media to help raise awareness and to apologize to Jung-in. The hashtag “Jeong-in-ah, [I’m/we’re] sorry” became a trending topic on South Korean social media platforms like Weverse.
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