Supreme Court confirms 35-yr prison term for adoptive mother in high-profile child murder case

SEOUL-- The Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed a 35-year prison sentence for a woman charged with abusing her adopted toddler to death two years ago in one of the country's most ghastly child abuse cases in recent years.

The mother, surnamed Jang, was indicted on murder charges for abusing the then 16-month-old adopted daughter, Jung-in, to death in October 2020 and was sentenced to life in prison by a district court and subsequently 35 years in prison by an appeals court.

The top court also confirmed a five-year prison term for the husband, surnamed Ahn, who was indicted on child abuse charges for aiding and abetting Jang's violence toward the adopted baby.

The child, adopted in February of 2020, died of severe abdominal injuries and internal bleeding that were caused by "strong external force," according to an official autopsy.

Investigation records showed Jung-in had been habitually beaten for the five months prior to her tragic death, with fractured bones and bruises found on her body.

The mother was initially indicted on lesser charges of child abuse resulting in death. But prosecutors later added a murder charge, based on forensic results, and had sought capital punishment for the adoptive mother.

She admitted to having abused the child but claimed the death was an accident.

The case caused nationwide grief and anger over the child abuse death. Throngs of people sent petitions to the court and held picketing campaigns to demand heavy punishment for the parents.

Source: Yonhap News Agency