Cops Say They've IDed a Serial Killer—but There's a Twist

Suspect can't be charged in South Korea murders as statute of limitations has run out
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2019 10:45 AM CDT
Police Say They've IDed a Serial Killer From Decades Ago
In this July 1993, photo, South Korean investigators examine the scene following a murder in Hwaseong, South Korea.   (Yonhap via AP)

For years, a serial killer terrorized Hwaseong, a city south of Seoul in South Korea, leaving police stymied. Decades later, authorities say they've finally identified the man who murdered at least three of the 10 victims who were killed between 1986 and 1991 in what is called "the worst serial murder case in the country's modern history," per CNN. They didn't name him, but they said he's 56 years old and already serving a life sentence in prison for raping and killing his sister-in-law in 1994. In a twist, he can't be charged in the decades-old murders, because the country's statute of limitations on them ran out in 2006. The female victims ranged in age from 13 to 71 and were killed by someone who hid and waited in fields or on rural paths for women who were walking home early in the morning or late at night, UPI reports.

Even so, police had continued to investigate, they announced Thursday. In July, advancements in DNA testing allowed them to make a match between the suspect and evidence from three of the scenes. Nine of the 10 killings, which are well known in South Korea and were the subject of a 2003 true-crime film by a South Korean director, are believed to be linked due to the similar circumstances: All victims were raped, most were strangled to death (and in many cases, a piece of their own clothing was used to kill them), and some of their genitals were severely damaged. But one of the killings was found to have been committed by a copycat murderer, the South China Morning Post reports. Police say they'll continue to investigate. (Detroit police also believe they've nabbed a serial killer.)

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