On October 16th, a South Korean court announced the verdict in the case of a woman who murdered her four-year-old autistic child. This past June, desperate to end the difficulties of raising her severely autistic daughter, the woman loaded the child into her car, drove it into a highway median, and finally strangled the girl to death. The jury gave the woman a three-year prison sentence, with special consideration for the burdens of raising her autistic child.
Netizens were split between sympathizing with the mother’s state of mind and condemning anyone who would kill their own child. Korea has recently made the news for its treatment of autistic children, which some say face strong obstacles in a society that emphasizes school performance and a good bloodline.
Article from the Joongang Ilbo:
‘Probation’ for Mother who Killed Her Autistic Daughter
In 2010, a young mother received news from the hospital that hit her like a lightning bolt on a clear day.
On that day, Ms. Seo, 36, learned that her daughter was autistic.
The two-year-old girl had been completely unable to communicate with her parents, and just kept repeating the same bizarre gestures over and over again. For Ms. Seo, watching her child in the grips of the disease was worse than being in hell.
Looking ahead to the bleak future that faced her and her young daughter, Seo made a decision and in June of 2013 loaded her uncomprehending daughter into the family car.
Her intentions were to end all of the pain by murdering her daughter and then killing herself.
Seo drove around the outskirts of the city of Yeosu and Samcheon-po, but she couldn’t bring herself to violate the basic law of motherhood.
Two days after, she seemed to have made up her mind and eased her worries, when suddenly her daughter’s symptoms grew worse.
Seo began driving on the highway between Pohang and Daegu, her daughter beside her continuously unbuttoning her shirt and then demanding that her mother button it. Finally, the car collided with the highway median.
Seo, seeing her daughter screaming from the shock of the collision, decided she couldn’t take it anymore and grabbed her daughter’s neck with both hands.
On October 16th, Judge Choi Weol-young of Daegu’s 12th District Court announced that the jury in Seo’s case had delivered their verdict on the charge of murder of a four-year-old autistic girl, three years in prison, five years of probation, and 120 hours of community service.
The court stated that, “in the case of a woman who completely abandoned her responsibility to care for her young daughter, the sentence was inevitable.”
“However, it is worth taking into consideration Seo’s motivation, her desire to commit the crime due to desperation at the hardship of raising her child and intention to take her own life as well. We believe that Seo will spend the rest of her life weighed down by a punishment much worse than a life sentence.”
Of the seven-member jury, four were in favor of the three year prison sentence with five years of probation.
Comments from Daum:
Oh, how terrible. What could the mother have been feeling to have done such a thing? Just raising a healthy child is the greatest gift of all. Wanting a studious, hard working child is the second and third priority.
It hurt me to read this…
It’s such a shame..
No one has the right to criticize this woman. The government certainly doesn’t provide much support for taking care of autistic people, it’s just up to the mother or the family to take care of the child. Of course the mother didn’t make the right choice, and giving her an appropriate punishment is important. But all of those people pointing their fingers at their computer screens and criticizing her have no right to say anything. It’s just a shame..
This woman! I’ve been taking care of an autistic child for fifteen years now.. I have had the same thought thousands of times but I just clenched my teeth through the tears and kept on living. I worry about what would happen after the death, but everyone has to carry their own burden.. Good luck to all the parents out there carrying the same burden…
What a tragedy. Autism is a disease. You’ve got to treat autistic people like patients.. You can’t think of them like regular people. If the mother had treated her child differently maybe she would have understood the behavior.. damn.. I hope you are reborn in a healthy new life where you receive much love from the people around you…
You can’t raise an autistic child in Korea…… Everyone may talk about what they would do, but when they actually face an autistic child throwing a fit in front of them they all scowl and insult them, asking the parents why they would bring such a child out in public.
So the verdict is saying that it is alright to kill autistic children, wha? all you get is probation? If this had happened in America, it would have been the death penalty, in China, the death penalty. But in Korea, it’s probation. Probation seems like the inevitable sentence these days ke ke
I read thoroughly all the comments supporting someone who murdered their own family. But this bastard is absolutely goddamn crazy!!!
But it was her daughter… She didn’t want to be born that way… Now you will grow old and die with that terrible guilt within you… There is no way to remove the sin of violating a mother’s responsibility… and just three years sentence… tsk tsk