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Six ‘Soldiers of Christ’ charged with murder after woman found dead in trunk, police say

The woman from South Korea had most likely been starved and beaten for weeks, officials in Gwinnett County said.
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Five adults and a juvenile have been charged with murder after a 70-pound woman — who had been beaten and malnourished for weeks — was discovered dead in the trunk of a vehicle this week, police in Georgia said Thursday.

The victim, who was not publicly identified, is from South Korea and came to the U.S. this summer to join a religious group, the Gwinnett County Police Department said in a statement.

“The accused individuals referred to themselves as belonging to ‘Soldiers of Christ,’” police said.

Gwinnett County Police investigate the crime scene where a body was found in a car in Duluth, Ga., on Sept 13, 2023.
Gwinnett County police investigate the scene where a body was found in a car in Duluth, Ga., on Wednesday.WXIA

The cause of death remains under investigation. Police said the medical examiner’s office "believes malnourishment could be a contributing factor."

Arrest warrants indicate that the woman had been starved and beaten for weeks. Police believe the starvation began Aug. 3; it was not immediately clear when she died.

Eric Hyun, 26, of Suwanee, Georgia, and Gawom Lee, 26, Joonho Lee, 26, Juoonhyum Lee, 22, and Hyunji Lee, 25, all from Lawrenceville, Georgia, were charged with felony murder, false imprisonment, tampering with evidence and concealing the death of another, police said.

A 15-year-old was also charged.

It was unclear Thursday night whether they had attorneys.

The investigation began Tuesday, police said.

Detectives believe Hyun parked the vehicle Tuesday at a business in Duluth that advertises services for Korean spas. Police said the business was not thought to be connected to the death.

Hyun then called a relative to pick him up and was taken to an Atlanta hospital for treatment for unrelated injuries, police said.

Hyun asked the relative at the hospital to retrieve a personal item from the car. Hyun’s relative then found what appeared to be a body in the trunk and called 911 on Tuesday night, police said.

The discovery led investigators to execute a search warrant at an unincorporated Lawrenceville house associated with Hyun, police said.

“Detectives believe the basement of this home was where the crime took place,” police said.

Investigators, police said, believe all suspects are in custody.