South Korea's 'Molar Daddy' admits to being a murderer, but who he really is remains a mystery

The man, surnamed Lee, made the confession during the third day of questioning.
The man, surnamed Lee, made the confession during the third day of questioning.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/Asia News Network) - A 35-year-old man, who had earned public sympathy years ago for suffering a rare medical condition himself and raising a daughter with the same condition, admitted on Tuesday (Oct 10) to killing the daughter's friend and dumping her body.

The man, surnamed Lee and arrested, made the confession during the third day of questioning, after his 14-year-old daughter testified to investigators that she heard her father say, "I killed her (the victim.)"

Both Lee and his daughter are recovering from overdosing on sleeping pills in what appeared to be an attempted suicide.

Police said that they asked for an arrest warrant to detain his 14-year-old daughter as well for assisting her father to dispose of the victim's body.

But the two did not elaborate on why and how the victim was murdered, according to the police.

According to media reports, police secured testimony from the daughter that she had lured her friend into her house and gave her sleeping pills to have her fall asleep. She then left the house alone, spent time with her other friends outside and came back home to find her friend dead.

She allegedly said that it was her father who asked her to bring the friend home and asked her to be outside home for a while.

According to the police, the victim went into Lee's house with Lee's daughter at around 12.20pm on Sept 30. Lee's daughter left the house alone at around 1pm.

The next day, the father and daughter carried the dead body in a black suitcase in a car and abandoned it at a mountain in Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province.

The father, who has an intellectual and mental disability, has initially claimed that the girl died after she mistakenly took sleeping pills that he had kept at his home to take his own life out of despair following his wife's death.

But the victim was strangled to death using a rope or similar implement, the autopsy report by the National Forensic Service found.

The case surfaced in early September when Lee and his wife, surnamed Choi, filed a complaint with the police against Lee's 60-year-old step father, who they claimed had raped Choi on multiple occasions for eight years since 2009.

Five days after they filed a complaint, the wife jumped off a five-storey building and killed herself. She committed suicide after having a quarrel with Lee as he asked her to have sex with the step father to secure evidence for rape, an anonymous police official was quoted as saying.

The police are conducting a separate probe into the alleged rape case. They called in the step father as a suspect for questioning earlier in the day, but he refused to turn up.

Who Lee really is largely remains a mystery.

The 35-year-old man has earned a reputation for being a loving and caring father after local media reported on his effort 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".

But testimony by residents in his neighbourhood and police suggest that Lee had shown abnormal behavior such as shooting an hour-long video in which his deceased wife's body was cleaned and shrouded.

"I am happy to touch my wife for the last time" and "My wife is the prettiest", kissing her on the lips and breasts, he allegedly told reporters. On Choi's body, there was a tattoo showing a woman tied in ropes.

Lee himself argued that he had owned a massage parlour in the affluent district of southern Seoul. There is suspicion that he has led a lavish lifestyle - for example, modifying foreign cars.

He has not avoided meeting or talking to his neighbours, but when asked what he did for a living, he gave different answers every time, according to local residents.

The police said he had no stable income and lived on the donations raised for him and his daughter.