‘Shocked’ by the kidnapping of the second generation of readers… Park Chung-hee and Lee Mi-ja also came forward, but as ‘unauthorized’ 

‘An innocent young life that will come back at any time / Please return Duhyung to his anxious mother’s arms’ (Lyrics of singer Lee Mi-ja’s song ‘Please Return Duhyung’)

61 years ago, September 10, 1962. Jo Doo-hyung (4 years old at the time), who was playing near his home in Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, went missing. Three days later, a threatening letter was sent to his parents saying, ‘If you bring me money, I will send your child back.’

The unprecedented child kidnapping incident led the entire nation to search for traces of the missing Jo. However, Jo never returned home and remains missing to this day. This case, the first in our country’s history to kidnap a child for money, was recorded as ‘the first unsolved case.’
Jo Du-hyung grew up in a wealthy family… Threatening letter saying, “If you give me money, I will send you back.”That Monday morning, Jo went out of the house to follow his older sister to elementary school. However, a while later, while meeting his neighborhood friends and playing at the playground, he suddenly disappeared.

Jo’s parents thought their young son was lost and reported him missing, but even after a day or two, there was no news of him. The parents had no choice but to wait and place a newspaper ad saying, ‘Looking for Duhyung’ with a reward of 20,000 won. At that time, the price of a bowl of soup was about 30 won.

Three days after his disappearance, a letter arrived addressed to Jo’s family. It said, ‘If you bring 100,000 won to Samgakji, I will send Duhyeong back.’ The parents finally realized that their son had been kidnapped and reported it to the police.

At the time, Jo was the second-generation son of a successful businessman. The police believed that someone had kidnapped Jo for money and began tracking the criminal.

However, the police investigation ran into difficulties as there was no CC (closed-circuit) TV and false reports were rampant. Even though the prosecution came forward, the culprit was not easily caught.

Meanwhile, the threatening letters continued. The eighth and final threatening letter said, ‘If you give 200,000 won to the person I sent, I will send you 먹튀검증back in 10 minutes.’ Accordingly, the police prepared 200,000 won in fake money with the plan to apprehend the criminal while hiding at the agreed upon location. However, the criminal just took the ransom and ran away.
The entire nation came out to say, “Please give Duhyung back,” but… ‘Missing’ for 61 yearsAs there seemed to be no sign of a solution, the entire country set out to find Jogun’s whereabouts. At the time, Park Chung-hee, chairman of the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, issued a statement and asked, “If only the two brothers are returned, we will dispose of them leniently.”

Not only the media but also public institutions such as the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (currently the Ministry of Science and ICT), the Ministry of Education (currently the Ministry of Education), and the Ministry of Transportation (currently the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) rolled up their sleeves. Postmen passed out leaflets with Jo’s picture on them, and train crews searched for Jo and asked for cooperation from passengers.

The entertainment industry also offered a helping hand. Singer Lee Mi-ja sang the song ‘Give Me Back Duhyung’ (1963) and prayed for Jo to return home safely. As sad songs rang out in the streets, citizens stopped, thought of Jo and his parents, and mourned in unison.

Despite everyone’s interest and efforts, Jo disappeared and did not return to his family. The police promised leniency, saying, “If you surrender, you will be treated leniently,” but to no avail. A report was received from another area that a child similar to Mr. Jo had been seen, and the team was dispatched, but it was in vain.

The case gradually fell into a labyrinth. It was also unknown whether Jo was alive or dead. All joint investigations conducted over the past 15 years have failed. Eventually, the statute of limitations expired in 1977, and it was permanently recorded as an unsolved case.

In 2014, 52 years after his disappearance, a man claiming to be Jo appeared on a broadcast. However, as a result of the DNA test, it was confirmed that this man was not Jo. Even now, 61 years later, Jo’s whereabouts are unknown. If he were alive, all that was left was a song to desperately look for him instead of Jo, who would have turned into an old man.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *