Police on Wednesday said they have expanded their search for a teenage girl who went missing Saturday afternoon, as no one has reported seeing her alive for the past five days.
Search and rescue teams consisting of some 600 police officers have been searching for the girl since 8 a.m. Wednesday, with the help of heat-sensing helicopters and police dogs.
According to Jeonnam Provincial Police Agency on Monday, the 16-year-old failed to return home after leaving for her part-time job around 2 p.m. Saturday in Gangjin, South Jeolla Province.
Search and rescue teams near a mountain in Doam-myeon, Gangjin (Yonhap)
In her last conversation, the missing girl reportedly told her friends via social media that the job was offered by her dad’s friend. Her last phone signal was reported to be near Gangjinsan in Doam-myeon, Gangjin. Her phone was switched off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
After receiving a missing person report, police said they started looking for the man, 51, who was known to be good friends with the family. A search party team found him dead at a railroad construction site Sunday in an apparent suicide, according to authorities.
Police said they have sifted through the last few months of surveillance footage and phone records, but could not find anything concrete -- no texts or phone calls -- to tie him to the missing girl.
Authorities, however, suspect that the two crossed paths on Saturday, as the man’s car was spotted on camera 600 meters away from the girl’s house around the time she went missing.
A man is seen leaving his house through the backdoor Saturday night. (Yonhap)
The man reportedly drove his car in the direction of Doam-myeon, parked his car for over two hours and then washed his car upon returning home in the afternoon.
When the missing girl’s family came by his house Saturday night, the man reportedly slipped out the backdoor and was found dead Sunday morning, authorities said.
By Catherine Chung (firstname.lastname@example.org