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Supreme Court confirms jail terms for adoptive parents in death of 16-month-old

Portraits memorializing the baby victim are set up outside the Supreme Court building in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Portraits memorializing the baby victim are set up outside the Supreme Court building in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the convictions of adoptive parents who appealed charges of child abuse and neglect that resulted in the death of their 16-month-old daughter, known by the name Jeong-in.

The court approved the convictions against the parents from a lower court and confirmed their jail terms. The mother, whose charges include fatally injuring the victim, was sentenced to 35 years. The father was given five years for neglect.

Jeong-in died Oct. 13, 2020 from multiple injuries, including a torn pancreas, according to autopsy findings. The couple had adopted her in January 2020. Pancreatic injuries are rare and considered a critical marker of inflicted injury in children. At the time of death, the victim weighed around 9.5 kilograms, indicating severe malnutrition.

On three separate instances Jeong-in’s pediatrician and nursery teacher had reported suspected child abuse to police, who dismissed the concerns. After an investigation launched by the prosecution following her death revealed evidence of abuse, police have since apologized for their oversight and inadequate response.

By Kim Arin (arin@heraldcorp.com)
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