DULUTH, Ga. (NewsNation) — Five adults and a 15-year-old who call themselves members of the “Soldiers of Christ” religious group are in custody on murder charges after a woman’s body was found in the trunk of a car parked outside a popular spa in Atlanta’s suburbs.
The woman was allegedly lured to the U.S. from South Korea to join “Soldiers of Christ,” which she believed was a religious organization.
Gwinnett County Police Sgt. Michele Pihera told “Banfield” it’s likely that the victim and the suspects charged “had some sort of connection.”
“We believe that the families knew one another, and that the victim came to the United States in the middle of the summer. … We believe that most of these injuries, and most of what she went through, was a result of the initiation into the ‘Soldiers of Christ,'” Pihera said.
Investigators said that someone reported the discovery last week outside of a Korean spa and sauna in Duluth. Authorities said the killing does not appear to be connected to the spa.
The victim, according to arrest warrants, was starved and beaten for weeks before she eventually died. Her identity has not been released.
Facing charges of felony murder, false imprisonment, tampering with evidence and concealing the death of another are Eric Hyun, 26, of Suwanee; Gawom Lee, 26; Joonho Lee, 26; Juoonhyum Lee, 22; Hyunji Lee, 25, and a 15-year-old, all from Lawrenceville.
Each of them also faces multiple gang-related charges. Under Georgia law, a criminal street gang is “any organization, association, or group of three or more persons associated in fact, whether formal or informal, which engages in criminal gang activity.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.