SPARTANBURG Co., S.C. (WSPA) – More than 20 years after a woman’s nude body was found dumped off Interstate 85, authorities have identified her and the man they say killed the woman and her young son.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release the victim was identified as Myoung Hwa Cho.
Deputies found her body behind a pile of debris on Casual Drive in May 1998.
She had ligature marks around her wrists and deputies say she died from suffocation.
Her death was ruled a homicide. But her name and the suspect remained a mystery as investigators exhausted leads for two decades.
Rick Ellis is the Cold Case Investigator with the Spatanburg County Coroners Office says, “the crime scene investigators had their autopsy’s done had their paper work done rolled their fingerprints and took some photographs.”
Last December, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina about a similar case. Deputies there found a dead boy about four months after the female victim was discovered here.
Due to advanced decomposition, the child’s manner of death was undetermined. But it’s suspected he was also a homicide victim. His remains were also found off an I-85 frontage road.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said N.C. investigators used forensic technology to determine the boy was of Asian descent and track down possible family members.
Coroner Rusty Clevenger for Spartanburg County says, “there are case managers within each region that takes new information as it’s entered and compare it to previous cases that have already been entered.”
WNCN reports the Orange County Sheriff’s Office identified the boy as Robert “Bobby” Adam Whitt.
The boy’s DNA was compared to the victim here and was determined they were mother and child.
Myoung Hwa Cho was identified with fingerprints with help from the Korean National Police and INTERPOL, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.
The victims’ identifications led investigators to Cho’s husband, also the child’s father.
Deputies say he confessed to murdering the victims within several months of each other in 1998. The suspect is currently serving time for unrelated crimes.
His name has not been released as of Tuesday morning.
Authorities say he will be charged after jurisdictional questions are resolved and prosecutors make a decision.
Rick Ellis says, “until you meet a family that had no earthly idea where there family was and you’re able to tell them, beyond a doubt this is your lost loved one, nothing can match that.”
Deputies say it doesn’t appear either victim was murdered in Spartanburg County or Orange County.
The link to the National Missing and Unidentified Person’s System : https://www.namus.gov/