Posts Tagged ‘Mount Maryong’

It was 26th March, 1991 and five Korean boys went missing, they had gone out to Mount Waryong, near Daegu, to catch frog eggs, but more likely salamanders but the translation is easier for frogs, the name frog boys would stick easier. The five boys never returned and the name the Frog Boys (개구리소년 or Gaegurisonyeon) is really the term to identify the group of boys. The boys went missing on what was a national holiday in South Korea at the time, it was the 1991 local elections and the boys went out to play, no doubt the political interest being little to zero given their age. The local elections being held would also no doubt contribute towards people not paying as much attention to their behaviours that day, as all eyes would be centered on the events and so they were free to do pretty much most things without the usual adult eyes around them, perhaps this was a good time up until the end which seems a shame, when I was young being a little naughty was a big highlight! 

They were: 
Woo Cheol-won, aged 13 years.
 Cho Ho-yeon, aged 12 years.
 Kim Yeong-gyu, aged 11 years.
 Park Chan-in, aged 10 years.
 Kim Jong-sik, aged 9 years.

The boys disappearance had 321,000 police officers, volunteers and interested parties all searching for them, the searches were shown live on TV. Several of the parents left their jobs so they could continue in the search and sadly around 550 false claims about what had happened were made, no doubt making that job even harder.

The boys were not likely to have got lost as they knew their way around Mount Waryong living only a few miles away from it, there was no trace of the boys found and a reward offering 42 million won (around $35,000 for the USA audience) did not seem to tempt anyone to come forward that knew about the events either. There was one man that called the police claiming that he had kidnapped them in exchange for a ransom and that they were dying of malnutrition but it was established that it was a lie and so nothing more came of it. 

In 1992 a film was made about the events called Come Back, Frog Boys and has a running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes. I really wasn’t able to find a lot more about this and the film I could find on youtube had no translation, I don’t know Korean so it wasn’t really something I felt I could get any merit out of watching.  Around this time there were several speculations about how it might have been the authorities that did it, alien abductions, South or North Korean involvement and the inevitable accusations that it might have been the parents themselves. 

26th September 2002 and a man searching for acorns found the bodies in an area that had already been searched, the man first reported them anonymously (later being named as Mr Choi Hwan-tae) and the police recorded that finding to be death by hypothermia. The bodies had been found huddled up together and entwined, suggestion that maybe they had tried to get warm or comfort one another but again they knew the area and they were close enough to people for their cries to have been heard. 

It is worth a small mention, for the sake of trying to be a little thorough, that even if the boys knew the area there is a chance with mist or even going a little off track it can be possible to get lost even if it is temporary. As a young child I went up Pendle Hill, Lancashire, many times and I can locally pop to the Peak District, you can think you know your way around well enough but the mist can really affect it and familiar things seem very unusual until you can wait it out and look again. Now I am not saying that this is part of the cause of death (carry on reading it will be obvious why) but it just more information about the local area to keep context and to keep information collated.

In the end Mount Waryong had been searched around 500 or more times before the boys were found and nearby they had found shell casings that would not have supported the theory of hypothermia either.  The bodies had been buried in a way that forensics determined had meant they were hastily buried, moss had grown in their skulls and they had lain in a gully, eventually the water gave way and this exposed their bodies. The parents refused to accept the initial outcome and a full investigation was put into action to find out the truth. 

The boys clothes had been found tied in knots and had not naturally entwined, they were found in an area that the boys already knew and that they would have called out for help and been heard most likely.  Forensic experts also determined that three of the children had died from blows to the head, and that one of the boys had died from a shotgun wound to his head and two skills had traces of blood on them. The forensic team was led by professor Kwak Jeong-sik who said that three of the boys showed marks on the skulls and tentatively confirmed they had died by being beaten to death. 

On 25th March, 2004 a funeral was held for the boys and their skulls were donated to medical science by their parents.The sad part of this? In 2006 the statute of limitations passed for the case which meant that the killers could go free if they were found but in 2015 it appears that for this case this restriction was lifted, so they can still continue to pursue it with charges being made if anything knew should arise. It is pretty clear from the notes that the case was not managed particularly well and that the parents pressing for further results was the only way to get the correct judgement on their passing but this has all ended up with little further evidence to go by and many potential clues having been missed. 

In 2011 a film was made, Children, and was created based on what information they could find on the case. Now I highly doubt this film is accurate and the synopsis even mentions alien abduction but my feeling is that this really is just a tragic event and if anyone is to be blamed it is a natural human involvement not a supernatural one. A more sensible theory listed amongst many is that it might have been hunters who then panicked and buried them too afraid to come forwards or hunting illegally knew they could not admit to it without getting themselves into further trouble. 

There is a Wikipedia Entry for the film – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_(2011_film) (link will remain unless Article 13 kicks in I guess)

Sources: Wikipedia, youtube, bizarreandgrotesque.com, englishchosun.com, reddit r/UnresolvedMysteries
LINK I would highly recommend this link if you want something from a more local point of view, and someone there at the time and a few theories in there you might think make sense.