The suspect, simply known as Mr Lee, violently murdered his girlfriend Kim, in a ‘fit of anger’, a year after she reported him to local police for domestic abuse.
Kim’s sister said that when things didn’t go the way Lee wanted, he beat her badly.
“I heard from close friends of hers there that one time my sister knelt and begged for him to stop beating her,” she said. “I think she thought he had changed, and they dated again it probably happened over and over again.”
The victim, Sunny Kim, 26, went missing on May 2, according to reports. Two weeks later Mr Lee, 24, turned himself into a police station in Busan, southeast Korea, and confessed to killing Kim after she tried to end their relationship.“I killed my girlfriend and buried the body. I also tried to kill myself,” he told police, according to local media reports.Lee claimed to have carried his girlfriend’s body to the mountains in the suitcase. He then buried her in a meter-deep hole and covered it with cement. After the murder, Mr Lee, responded to text messages received on Kim’s phone by impersonating her to relatives and a prospective employer in an attempt to cover his tracks, say reports.
Korean media have reported that Lee followed Kim back to her apartment on the evening of her murder. Mr Lee was taken to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Gwanak station, after coming forward with his wrists slit after allegedly attempting to commit suicide.
“The way that he texted me was how my sister would text,” Kim’s sister, who has asked not to be named, said. “We think he may have gone through her phone to see how she usually contacts us. It was really shocking to see how someone can really hide what they did in that way.”
On the day of the murder Kim messaged her family saying she had accepted a new job and was looking forward to celebrating the good news with them. Mr Lee later emailed the new employer as Kim rejecting the position. Kim, a successful and popular professor in Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, met her killer after returning to Korea from the States after graduating from the State University of New York, where she studied economics.
Chilling photos of the suitcase in which the victim’s body was found covered over in concrete on May 18, buried in the mountains in Jecheon, a city in North Chungcheong province, were released by the Korean police. The cause of death has not been released. Police said that the victim’s body was “badly damaged.”
Distressing video footage of the victim’s mother confronting her daughter's killer at a police station has been aired on Korea media. The video shows Mrs Kim screaming and shouting at Mr Lee, and later breaking down while weeping and rocking in the company of an officer.
Korean television aired photos of Kim taken in 2014 visibly batter and bruised with a black eye broken fingers that were given to police at the time. However, no charges were made against Mr Lee then.Mr Lee’s court date is pending.