Early 2021, the shocking case of the 16-month-old Jung In and her adoptive parents swept Korea when a brutal tell-all episode of Unanswered Questions aired, taking a deep dive into the story behind why the late baby girl had to lose her life.
The episode revealed the South Korean police investigating how the adoptive parents had filmed over 800 videos of themselves physically and mentally abusing Jung In. The police also shared that an autopsy revealed Jung In’s cause of death to be “damages to the abdomen by an external force“.
Then, on May 14, 2021 KST — five months after the media attention on the adoptive parents’ 271-days of child abuse since their adoption of Jung In, the Seoul Southern District Court has found both guilty of all charges pressed. The adoptive mother has been sentenced to life in prison for child neglect, child abuse, and most importantly, murder.
The adoptive father, on the other hand, has been sentenced to five years in prison after being charged with child neglect. This is shorter than the original seven-year sentence that the prosecution originally pursued.
When these verdicts became revealed to the public, Koreans grew outraged by the adoptive father’s “relatively short sentence.”
One citizen — who has remained devoted to following this case as one of Jung In’s neighbors — commented, “The verdict makes no sense.”
How is the adoptive father going to get away with five years? Other criminals out there abusing kids right now will look to this case and think lightly of their wrongdoings. If the court considered how much pain Jung In has gone through, it would have seen that the verdict makes no sense.
— Lee Soo Jin
Another citizen in her 40s heavily criticized the Seoul Southern District Court for “downplaying the serious criminality of the adoptive father’s actions.” This citizen, along with most Koreans, showed hope that a higher sentence would come from the Korean Supreme Court once an appeal is filed by the prosecution.
The adoptive father did not only ‘neglect’ baby Jung In though. He not only let his wife abuse the baby, but also let his wife kill the baby… I hope the prosecutors will file for an appeal to increase the sentence for the adoptive father.
— Kim Hye Ri
Director Gong Hye Jung of the Korea Child Abuse Prevention Association added, “It’s a shame the adoptive father had been found guilty only of child neglect.” She also pled that the prosecution appeals the district court’s final ruling so to identify the adoptive father as an accomplice to the adoptive mother’s crimes.