South Korean Ferry Owner's Body Was in His Apricot Orchard All Along

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The body of Yoo Byung-un, the target of a massive manhunt since one his company's ferries sank in April and killed 300 people, was identified yesterday. The heavily decomposed body had been found in an apricot orchard in June . From the Trib:

Beside the body was a book written by Yoo, along with an empty bottle of a shark-liver-oil health tonic, made by a Yoo family company, and three empty bottles of alcohol, police said.

Yoo was a wealthy businessman who headed the family that owned the operator of a ferry that capsized in the country's worst maritime disaster in 20 years."

The Washington Post reported that Yoo also had a magnifying glass and an extra shirt. In the wake of the disaster, Yoo went on the lam and had been sought for nearly three months. The tycoon who founded was accused of embezzlement, negligence and tax evasion and South Korean authorities offered a reward of nearly half a million dollars for his capture. Some 9,000 cops were dedicated to the manhunt.

The South Korean ferry disaster captivated the country as an investigation into its sinking led to the arrests of the entire 15-person crew on a host of charges. The ship captain Lee Joon-seok, the chief engineer, and the chief and second mates were all charged with homicide after being accused of fleeing the ship once it started sinking.

When his body was discovered, residents thought it was the remains of a homeless person. After failing to identify Yoo when his body was initially, the police chief overseeing the case resigned.

"We admit we were not perfect," Woo Hyung-ho, the police chief, said.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.