NATIONAL

Police search for ‘Molar Daddy’ motive

By Ock Hyun-ju
  • Published : Oct 11, 2017 - 18:54
  • Updated : Oct 12, 2017 - 10:55
Public focus on the confessed killing of a teenager by a 35-year-old suspect dubbed “Molar daddy” turned toward his motive Wednesday, with police clarifying that there was not enough evidence to conclude it was sexual.

The suspect, identified by the surname Lee, who had earned public sympathy years ago for suffering a rare dental tumor himself and raising a daughter with the same condition, admitted Tuesday to killing the 14-year-old girl and disposing of her body.

Although he has confessed to the murder, he remains silent on his motives. Commentators, however, have raised the possibility that the murder might be linked to an obsession with teenagers, citing his abnormal past behavior.

“Given there were adult tools found at his house, Lee might have had sadistic sexual desires. It is highly probable that he chose a teenager, who was weaker than an adult, to completely dominate the person,” Lee Woong-hyuk, a professor at Konkuk University, was quoted as saying by a local news agency. 

A crowd of journalists and spectators gather around a vehicle carrying a suspect in the death of a 14-year-old girl, ahead of a police-led re-enactment of the crime. The suspect is referred to by local media as “molar daddy” as he and his daughter both suffer from a rare dental tumor and the victim was a friend of the daughter. (Yonhap)

Police found many adult toys when they searched his house last month.

“The motive related to sex is considerably sensitive, so most criminals do not confess.”

But the National Forensic Service verbally briefed investigators that there was no evidence of sexual assault on the victim’s body after carrying out an autopsy, police said. The victim was strangled to death using a rope or similar implement, according to the autopsy report.

Police suspect the daughter lured the victim to her house at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, and gave her drinks containing sleeping pills to make her fall asleep. Lee’s daughter then left the house alone at 3:40 p.m., spent time with other friends outside and came back home at around 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 30. The police suspected Lee of having killed the girl the next day and carried the victim’s body in a black suitcase in a car and abandoned it on a mountain in Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province.

Bae Sang-hoon, a professor at Seoul Digital University and a retired profiler, also suggested the man had a sexual obsession with teenagers.

“We could see that (the crime is) related to his sexual preference for young children,” he said in the radio interview, adding that the man might not have made direct sexual contact with the victim but might have done so in other forms.

The police, however, said during a briefing that it is yet to conclude whether he had a sexual perversion.

“Lee has partially spoken about the reason behind the murder, but we cannot tell whether it is credible. We will have to gather more testimony from people involved in the case and make a conclusion,” a police official told reporters.

Kwon Il-yong, who formerly led a team analyzing criminal behavior at the National Police Agency, said that his sense of inferiority stemming from his disease has developed into abnormal behavior.

“In this context, he and his daughter might have been more like a master-servant relationship. The deceased wife also gave the impression of being a typical victim when she was alive.”

His daughter, 14, also admitted to assisting her father in disposing of the body. She did not accompany the father for the re-enactment of the crime. Police have asked for an arrest warrant for the girl, with the hearing on the warrant scheduled for Thursday.

Fresh testimony and possible evidence continued to surface.

On his Twitter account, he had shown interest in teenagers, posting an advertisement recruiting teenagers aged between 14 and 20 to work with him at his massage parlor. The massage parlor was reportedly offering illicit sexual services. He also offered consultations with teenagers over their school or family problems on Twitter.

Local media reported that Lee had coerced his wife to sell sex to other men.

Police analysis of Lee’s computer, digital camera and several phones suggested he was a pimp recruiting prostitutes and connecting clients with sex workers. The police reportedly secured several sex videos, with some showing his wife. He secretly filmed the sex scenes and uploaded the videos on adult websites to earn money.

The police are looking into whether his wife’s suicide was linked to sexual abuse.

“I have been sexually abused by my husband and I could not endure continued violence,” his wife allegedly wrote on a four-page suicide note before taking her own life. She got pregnant at 16 and gave birth to their daughter at 17. 

In early September, Lee and his wife, surnamed Choi, filed a complaint with police against Lee’s 60-year-old stepfather, who they claimed had raped Choi on multiple occasions over eight years since 2009.

Five days after they filed a complaint, the wife killed herself by jumping from a building.

Police are conducting a separate probe into the alleged rape case. They called in the stepfather as a suspect for questioning Tuesday, but he refused to turn up.

On Wednesday morning, police re-enacted how Lee allegedly killed his daughter’s friend at his house in eastern Seoul. He arrived at the crime scene at around 9:30 a.m., entered his residence to re-enact the murder and came outside 45 minutes later to show how he had carried a suitcase containing the body to his car.

Some 50 reporters and spectators gathered outside his house. Asked why he murdered his daughter’s friend, he said, “I am sorry.”

Some spectators vented their anger, shouting at him and hurling curse words at him.

The man had previously earned a reputation for being a loving and caring father, after local media reported on his efforts to raise donations for his daughter, who was suffering from a hereditary tumor that causes disfigurement of the jaw and teeth, in the US in 2006.

He had the same condition as his daughter. After receiving numerous surgeries with the money from donations, he was left with only one molar tooth, earning him the nickname “molar daddy.” 

(laeticia.ock@heraldcorp.com)