State forensic lab fails to find cause of ferry owner’s death

July 25, 2014
Seo Joong-seok, director of the National Forensic Service, announces the results of a toxicology test and autopsy conducted Yoo Byung-eun, a fugitive billionaire allegedly responsible for April's ferry disaster.  (Yonhap)

Seo Joong-seok, director of the National Forensic Service, announces the results of a toxicology test and autopsy conducted Yoo Byung-eun, a fugitive billionaire allegedly responsible for April’s ferry disaster. (Yonhap)

The state forensic agency said Friday that it was impossible to determine the cause of death for the fugitive shipping tycoon allegedly responsible for April’s ferry disaster as his body was badly decayed.

The body of Yoo Byung-eun, a 73-year-old billionaire who owned Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co. , was found on a remote hill in the southern part of the country last month.

“It was impossible to conclude the cause of death since Yoo’s body was in a very advanced stage of decomposition,” said Seo Joong-seok, director of the National Forensic Service (NFS), announcing the results of a toxicology test and an autopsy conducted on Yoo.

In a nationally televised press briefing, Seo further said that the service could not determine whether Yoo had died of disease or that he had been strangled to death, as there was too little evidence left on the body.

“The NFS ruled out the possibility that (Yoo) had died from drugs or had been killed by a poisonous animal,” Seo said.

The NFS once again confirmed that the body found in the southern city of Suncheon, about 415 kilometers south of Seoul, on June 12 is that of Yoo, ruling out the possibility that the body had been switched.

A comparison showed that Yoo’s DNA matched that of Yoo’s arrested older brother, Yoo Byung-ill, 75, the NFS said.

A massive manhunt had been under way for Yoo since the ferry Sewol sank off the country’s southwestern coast on April 16, which claimed 294 lives, mostly high school students on a school trip, and left 10 people still missing. (Yonhap)

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