A closed-circuit video footage, provided by a reader, shows a 9-year-old girl talking with a neighbor who later reported to police a case of suspected child abuse in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang Province. (Yonhap)
A 9-year-old girl who escaped from her abusive parents last month was found to have fled home via a fourth-floor balcony in bare feet.
The Gyeongnam Provincial Police Agency said Thursday that the girl escaped May 29 by jumping to the balcony of the apartment next door. The neighbor’s apartment was empty, and she fled the building in search of help, police said.
A neighbor found the girl on a roadside in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, and called the police. The girl was barefoot and had bruises, cuts and blisters on her body. Police later found that she had several broken bones and symptoms of severe anemia.
According to local news reports, she told police her stepfather, 35, and her mother, 27, had chained her up as a punishment for disobedience. For two days, she had a metal chain around her neck except when she was using the bathroom, doing household chores or eating. She was fed only once a day.
At the time of her escape, her mother and siblings were home, but her stepfather was out, police said.
The girl told police that her parents beat her with a metal stick, branded her feet with a glue gun and heated metal chopsticks, and tried to drown her in the bathtub, police said.
During the investigation, the police confiscated some 10 items suspected of being used in the crime, including a frying pan, a lock, a metal chain and a glue gun.
The girl said she had been subjected to constant abuse since being returned to her mother in 2017 after two years in foster care. Her teacher and neighbors were reportedly unaware of the situation, as the girl hid her scars and bruises under her clothes.
The police say the girl’s stepfather admitted to some of the allegations but denied others. They have not finished questioning the mother and are still investigating the case. Both parents may face child abuse charges, they said.
By Ko Jun-tae (firstname.lastname@example.org