October 17, 2023
A 54-year-old woman is the seventh suspect to be arrested in the death of Sehee Cho; a South Korean woman who flew from her home country to the U.S earlier this summer to join a religious group in Georgia. She is believed to be in her 20’s or 30’s, with some reports stating she is 33 years old.
Sehee Cho's body was discovered in the trunk of a car parked outside of Jeju Sauna & Spa Home of Wellbeing, on 2415 Stable Gate in Lawrenceville, Georgia, just before 11pm on the night of September 12, 2023.
According to a statement released by the Gwinnett county Police Department, six individuals, who all appear to be related and from Lawrenceville, with the exception of one individual, were charged with Felony Murder, False Imprisonment, Tampering with Evidence, and Concealing the Death of Another.
The statement listed the suspects as:
-Eric Hyun (age 26, Suwanee)
-Gawom Lee (age 26, Lawrenceville)
-Joonho Lee (age 26, Lawrenceville)
-Juoonhyum Lee (age 22, Lawrenceville)
-Hyunji Lee (age 25, Lawrenceville)
-Junyeoug Lee (age 15, Lawrenceville)
Eric Hyun was the first to be arrested, after a family member discovered the body of a severely malnourished and beaten woman in the trunk of his car. Hyun, who was injured at the time, parked his vehicle outside the spa and made a phone call to a family member, asking them to drive him to a nearby hospital. The family member obliged and drove Hyun to seek medical attention at a hospital in the Atlanta area. While waiting at the facility, Hyun realised he had forgotten something in his car which was still parked outside the spa, and asked his relative to get it for him. When the relative arrived and began searching for the item, they popped the trunk and discovered Cho's body. That evening, they called the police to report what they had found. According to reports, her body had been burned and wrapped in a blanket.
Through investigation, police came to the conclusion that the crimes against Miss Cho had been inflicted upon her in the basement of Eric’s residence. It appeared the victim had been starved and beaten over the course of several weeks, and although malnourishment appeared to be the cause of the victim’s death it has not been officially confirmed. Cho weighed a shocking 31KG at the time of her death.
Mihee Lee, 54, the mother of three of the suspects, Joonho Lee, Juoonhyum Lee, and Junyeong Lee (who is just 15), has also been arrested and charged with felony murder, false imprisonment, tampering with evidence and concealing the death of another, as well as making false statements.
Eric Hyun's attorney, David Boyle of Crawford and Boyle, LLC, Monroe, said in a statement that Eric Hyun, along with Miss Cho, were both victims of the Lee Family, who are all members of a religious group "Soldiers of Christ." Boyle has stated that Hyun was recruited by the group and was also tortured and that the torture was some kind of initiation ritual to gain entrance to the group. Boyle claims that the Lee’s took Hyun’s clothing and shot at his naked body with an airsoft gun, whipped him with a belt all over his body and sanded his skin.
Boyle added that Hyun's injuries were so bad, that he spent a total of two weeks in Grady Hospital and has issues walking on his own. Boyle claims Eric Hyun escaped the home on September 12, and took Miss Cho's body with him before calling a family member to help him get to a hospital.
He alleges that they also forced Hyun into debt in order to send large sums of money to South Korea, which the Lee’s allegedly used to purchase a building for their Soldiers of Christ headquarters in the city of Suwanee, Georgia. Boyle has said that the Lee’s had been using Eric Hyun’s credit cards to go on shopping trips and to eat out at restaurants while Hyun and Cho were being held against their will in the basement. He maintains that evidence will be able to prove his claims and believes all charges against Eric Hyun will eventually be dropped.
At the time of writing, Eric Hyun has been released on bond, however, Joonho Lee, Juoonhym Lee, Hyunji Lee and Gawom Lee remain in custody. Joonhoo Lee was denied bail.
According to statements made by David Boyle, 26-year-old Joonho Lee, a student at Emory University, is the ringleader.
WSB-TV reported that Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Tamela Adkins said of denying Joonho Lee's bail: “You are a threat to commit additional felonies and a risk to intimidate witnesses in this case."
The Lee suspects claim that Miss Cho was undergoing the initiation ritual of her own free will, however, according to media outlets, 15-year-old Yunyeoug Lee told investigators that Cho was “not allowed to quit.”
Police are allegedly in possession of a video that shows Joonho Lee beating Eric Hyun and Hyun claims that he and Miss Cho were being held against their will and tortured at the same time in the basement.
On September 15, 2023, the Gwinnett Police Department updated their statement, announcing that they had "secured multiple Criminal Street Gang warrants for each of the suspects."
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