Police in Georgia have charged five Soldiers of Christ adults and one juvenile with murder after discovering the body of a 70-pound woman, who had suffered weeks of abuse and malnutrition, in the trunk of a vehicle earlier this week.
The victim, whose identity has not been publicly disclosed, had arrived from South Korea this summer to join a religious group, according to the Gwinnett County Police Department.
The suspects in custody referred to themselves as “Soldiers of Christ,” the police stated.
The cause of death is currently under investigation, but the medical examiner’s office suspects malnutrition may have played a role.
Arrest warrants indicate that the woman had been subjected to starvation and physical abuse for several weeks, with the starvation beginning on August 3. The exact date of her death remains unclear.
The individuals charged include Eric Hyun, 26, from Suwanee, Georgia, and Gawom Lee, 26, Joonho Lee, 26, Juoonhyum Lee, 22, and Hyunji Lee, 25, all from Lawrenceville, Georgia. They face charges of felony murder, false imprisonment, tampering with evidence, and concealing the death of another. Additionally, a 15-year-old has also been charged in connection with the case.
As of now, it is unclear whether any of the accused have legal representation.
The investigation commenced on Tuesday when Eric Hyun parked the vehicle at a business in Duluth that offers services for Korean spas. Authorities do not believe the business is connected to the woman’s death. Hyun subsequently called a relative to pick him up and was transported to an Atlanta hospital for unrelated injuries. While at the hospital, Hyun asked his relative to retrieve a personal item from the vehicle. It was during this retrieval that the relative discovered what appeared to be a body in the trunk, prompting them to call 911 on Tuesday night.
As of now, authorities believe all suspects are in custody.