The case of Son Jung Min, a 21-year-old medical student who went missing in the Han River for five days and later turned up dead on April 30, has Korea questioning if he died from a tragic accident or a cover-up in the making. After several eyewitnesses came forward, the missing time frame in the unsolved death at the Banpo Han River Park is now 42 minutes. It’s now up to investigators to find out how he ended up missing for five days in the Han River and whether his friend was involved.
Son’s cause of the death has been confirmed to be drowning but how he got into the river still remains an unsolved mystery. Doubts surrounding his friend Mister ‘A’ have not died down. Plus, a disturbing new image has been added to the evidence pile. Investigators are now focused on what happened between 3:38 a.m. to 4:20 a.m. on April 26, 2021.
Cause of Death: Drowning
A plankton test revealed that Son Jung Min swallowed and inhaled water before he died. Therefore, he was alive before he entered the river. However, investigators still do not know how he moved from the grassy lawn to the river between 3:38 a.m. and 4:20 a.m.
A blood alcohol concentration test was conducted. The results were not released to the public, but they were shared with the family. However, there’s research pointing to falsely high readings from bodies that have been tested after they’ve been decaying.
The autopsy also showed that a drug screening showed no abnormal results.
About seven eyewitnesses gave testimonies to authorities. They were within 10 meters of Son Jung Min and Mister A on the grassy knoll at the Banpo River Park. Here are some of the more critical accounts.
2:18 a.m. The “Keeled Over” Picture
Mister A is on the phone while Son Jung Min is passed out stone cold. The eyewitness said they took the picture because the situation didn’t look right. Mister A was digging through Son’s pockets and also lying down on the ground with him in a ‘cringeworthy’ manner.
3:38 a.m. Last Known Sighting
The two are seen on their mat together for the last time by eyewitnesses. They claim that by this time Son Jung Min was sitting up.
4:20 a.m. Alone on the Embankment
A passerby finds Mister A sleeping alone on the embankment next to the river. He is concerned for Mister A’s safety so he wakes Mister A up and encourages him to go home. Mister A gets up to leave and 10 minutes later, he is spotted by CCTV cameras leaving the park.
Mothers and fathers are seeing themselves in this tragedy and the collective frustration over the loose ends has resulted in explosive protests and impromptu rallies. Parents don’t want to make false accusations, but they also suspect that it might be another rich kid getting away with murder with complicity by the justice system and media. If so, it will be a war where a new line will be drawn as to what Korean society is willing to overlook from its ruling class. Nobody wants their precious kid tossed into the river and not have anybody to answer for it.