A body found in the trunk of a car parked outside a popular Korean bathhouse revealed abuse and deceit at the hands of a self-proclaimed religious group, Georgia police said.
Police were called to Jeju Sauna in Duluth on Sept. 12 after a 911 caller said there was a body in the trunk of a silver Jaguar parked outside, McClatchy News previously reported.
Inside was the decomposing body of a woman in her 20s or 30s, Gwinnett County police said in a Sept. 14 news release.
Detectives believe 26-year-old Eric Hyun drove the car and parked it in the bathhouse’s parking lot sometime earlier, according to the release.
Hyun then called a family member to come and pick him up and take him to the hospital for what police said are “unrelated injuries.”
While there, Hyun asked the family member to grab an item from the Jaguar, according to the release.
The family member found the body in the trunk and called 911, police said.
Officers and detectives searched a home in Lawrenceville that they said was associated with Hyun and found a bloodied basement floor, according to crime scene photos shared by police.
The woman, who has not been identified pending the notification of her death to her family in South Korea, was lured to the United States sometime over the summer by a group calling themselves the “Soldiers of Christ,” police said in a Sept. 14 news conference streamed by WAGA.
She came to the U.S. intending to join the group, police said in the news conference, but when she arrived she was put in the basement and beaten.
She was starved for weeks, and at the time of her death she weighed just 70 pounds, according to police.
Police said they believe she died sometime in late August, according to the news conference, and was in the trunk of the Jaguar for a few days.
The woman’s official cause of death is still under investigation, but the medical examiner said malnourishment was a “contributing factor to her death,” according to the release.
Hyun was taken into custody in the hospital, police said at the news conference.
Police identified the other members of the Soldiers of Christ that were living at the home, including three brothers.
Gawom Lee, 26, Joonho Lee, 26, Juoonhyum Lee, 22, Hyunji Lee, 25, and a 15-year-old were all taken into custody.
The brothers include two adults and the teenager, and one woman charged is a girlfriend of one of the brothers, police said in the news conference.
Hyun also lived at the home for a period of time, police said, but was not related to the other members of the Soldiers of Christ.
All six religious group members were charged with felony murder, false imprisonment, tampering with evidence and concealing the death of another, police said.
Police said in the news conference they do not believe the family member that found the body is involved, and they have not been charged with a crime.
Police have not found evidence of any other victims, they said in the news conference, and they believe all people involved have been charged.
The investigation is ongoing.
The home is n Lawrenceville, about 15 miles from where the woman’s body was found in Duluth and about 35 miles northeast of Atlanta.