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Georgia authorities arrest 5 adults and 1 teenager after body found in trunk

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Georgia authorities have arrested five adults and a teenager after a body was found in the trunk of a car outside a Korean spa in Gwinnett County.

Gwinnett County police said a 911 caller reported a possible body inside a vehicle near Jeju Sauna on Gwinnett Place Drive in the unincorporated city of Duluth around 10:50 p.m. September 12.

When police arrived at the scene, they found the body of a woman in the trunk of a silver Jaguar sedan.

On Thursday, the department identified the suspects as Joonhyun Lee, 22, a resident of Lawrenceville; Joonho Lee, 26; Hyunji Lee, 25; Gawon Lee, 26; Junyeug Lee, 15; and Suwanee resident Eric Hyun, 26.

All six are charged with murder, imprisonment, tampering with evidence and concealing a death.

At a news conference Thursday, Gwinnett police said the victim was from South Korea and came to the Atlanta area this summer to join the “Soldiers of Christ,” a religious organization to which suspects claim to belong.

His identity has not been released because police have not yet contacted his family in South Korea.

Gawon Lee (left), 26, and Hyunji Lee (right), 25, were among five charged in connection with the body found in the trunk.
Gwinnett County Police/Facebook

Although the exact cause of his death has not been determined, police said the medical examiner’s office believes malnutrition may have been a factor.

Detectives believe the victim, whose body weighed approximately 70 pounds when found, was repeatedly beaten and starved while held captive.

Gwinnett police believe Hyun was the driver of the Jaguar and reported that he called a family member to come pick him up shortly after parking the vehicle.


Lawrenceville residents Joonho Lee (left), 26, and Joonhyun Lee (right), 15, were also identified as charged suspects.
Lawrenceville residents Joonho Lee (left), 26, and Joonhyun Lee (right), 15, were also identified as charged suspects.
Gwinnett County Police/Facebook

Hyun was recovered and taken to a hospital for unrelated injuries, police said.

While at the hospital, police said Hyun asked the family member to get a personal item from the car for him.

When that family member arrived at the car, 911 was called to reports of what appeared to be a body in the trunk.


Police said Eric Hyun, 26, was the driver of the Jaguar sedan in which the body was found.
Police said Eric Hyun, 26, was the driver of the Jaguar sedan in which the body was found.
Gwinnett County Police/Facebook

A search warrant was executed at a residence associated with Hyun on Stable Gate in unincorporated Lawrenceville.

At the home, detectives and crime scene investigators collected evidence that led them to believe the crime took place in the basement, police said.

A Jeju sauna owner told FOX 5 Atlanta that surveillance video shows a man pulling up to the spa parking lot in a silver Jaguar alongside a Mercedes.


Gwinnett County police said evidence led them to believe the crime took place in the basement.
Gwinnett County police said evidence led them to believe the crime took place in the basement.
Gwinnett County Police Department

The man could have been seen looking in the boot of the Jaguar before getting into the Mercedes and driving off.

The owner said the video also shows the Mercedes returning to the car later that night, followed by police shortly after.

FOX 5 shared a statement from the popular sauna that reads:


The body found in the Jaguar sedan was that of a woman from South Korea, although police have not yet released her name.
The body found in the Jaguar sedan was that of a woman from South Korea, although police have not yet released her name.
Gwinnett County Police/Facebook

“We would like to respond to a recent incident that occurred in our parking lot. We would like to assure our valued customers that this incident had absolutely nothing to do with our business operations and was limited to the parking lot only.

“The safety and well-being of our customers has always been our top priority. We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement authorities who are currently investigating this matter. We are confident that they will quickly bring those responsible to justice.

“We understand that such incidents can cause concern to our loyal customers, and we would like to emphasize that this is an isolated incident and does not reflect the overall safety and security of our premises. We are grateful to our security guards who patrol in and around our parking lot to provide a safe environment for everyone.

“We encourage our guests to continue to enjoy the wide range of services and amenities we offer, including our rejuvenating saunas, therapeutic baths and cultural experiences. We remain committed to maintaining the high standards of cleanliness, hospitality and relaxation that our guests expect of us.

“We would like to thank our valued customers for their continued support and trust in Jeju Sauna.”

Gwinnett police confirmed it does not appear the sauna had any connection to the crime.

Any additional information on the case can be forwarded to Gwinnett County police detectives at 770-513-5300.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477), where a cash reward may be offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment.

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