We have a strange, sad, and unsolved true mystery for you today. It is a mystery about 5 boys, and what happened to them. They are known as the Frog Boys.
The story begins when boys decided to spend the day catching frogs in the streams of Mount Waryong, South Korea, on March 26, 1991. It was a national holiday so they didn’t have to go to school. They never returned to their homes. Their remains were found 11 years later in September of 2002.
A massive manhunt followed after the boys didn’t come home. National newscasts kept the country up to date. Volunteers joined police to help try and find the boys. Over 8 million flyers were distributed all over the country, and a reward of 42 million won ($35,000) was promised to anybody who could locate the boys. Some of the Frog Boys’ parents became so determined to find their sons that they quit their jobs so they could devote all of their time to searching.
Authorities received over 550 false leads, and at one point, a man called the police and lied that he abducted the Frog Boys. “I have kidnapped the boys for an exchange of ransom, and they’re dying of malnutrition,” he said in one of the phone calls.
The area where they were said to go, Mount Waryong, was searched many times, and yet it is exactly there, that they were found. The children were found in an area they knew well. They were only 3.5 kilometers away from their homes.
The case went nowhere until September 26, 2002, when a man looking for acorns in Mount Waryong found scattered pieces of children’s shoes and clothing. He called the police, and after they searched the mountainside, found all five bodies of the Frog Boys in a shallow pit. At first, the police suspected that the boys had froze to death. It was cold and rainy the day they went missing, and the boys might have gotten lost. The fact that their bodies were so close together might have been because they tried huddling for warmth.
Though it cannot be proved that the boys were murdered exactly where they were found. It cannot be prove that their remains were not hidden somewhere else first. It cannot even be proved that they were all killed at once in one violent session, or that they were killed one by one over a period of time. The number of people involved is unknown.
They were found in a huddling position. Maybe to mislead police? The huddling position did make them think at first that the boys got lost and died together of hypothermia.
The five boys were laid to rest on March 25, 2004. Their families donated their skulls to medical science for research and maybe too in hopes to find out more about the trauma to their children’s skulls.
Experts found two bullet holes in one child’s skull. Three of the five skulls had blunt-force trauma. It is possible that they were hit unconscious with an object like a tool. What kind of object/tool, who wielded it, and why, that is the mystery.
“The three skulls were caved in and showed a number of sharp cracks and holes, the investigators said.”
Police found a 5cm long loaded shell and two 1cm long empty shells near the scene. They sent them to a lab to find out if they are related to this case.
Some questioned why the boys had taken off their clothes. It is very hard to have a definitive answer as to whether the boys willingly undressed themselves or whether they were forced to. No further developments have taken place since the boys autopsy in 2002.
According to then-South Korean Law, the statute of limitations expired 15 years after the crime so in 2006, this meant that even if the prosecution found answers they could not bring a suspect to trial. In 2015 however, South Korea removed that obstacle paving the way for further investigations in infamous cold cases.
During the investigation, police followed many leads and tips. Some were obviously false, some reported sightings, and some people even confessed. Police began an investigation into a call made to a daily newspaper a day before the bodies were found. The paper reported that a man said “You will find remains of the five frog boys in Mt. Waryong.” This man gave the location before the remains were found.
Did the boys accidently stumble upon someone who killed them. Meaning, was it random murder? Was it premeditated murder? Where is the person, or persons now? To date we do not know.
Rest In Peace: U Cheol-won (13), Jo Ho-yeon (12), Kim Yeong-gyu (11), Park Chan-in (10), and Kim Jong-sik (9)