GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Bond has been denied for four of the suspects arrested after a burned female body, wrapped in a blanket, was found earlier this week in the trunk of a silver Jaguar outside a popular spa in Gwinnett County.
Six people were arrested after the discovery. They have been identified as 26-year-old Eric Hyun of Suwanee; 22-year-old Joonhyun Lee of Lawrenceville; 26-year-old Joonho Lee of Lawrenceville; 25-year-old Hyunji Lee of Lawrenceville; and 26-year-old Gawon Lee of Lawrenceville, along with 15-year-old Junyeoug Lee of Lawrenceville. They all face charges for felony murder, imprisonment, tampering with evidence, and concealing a death.
The sixth suspect is a juvenile, just 14 years old and one suspect remains in the hospital with unrelated injuries.
Police received a 911 call about suspicious activity near Jeju Sauna around 10:50 p.m. on Sept. 12. Upon arrival, they found the body in the vehicle. Detectives believe that Eric Hyun was the driver of the car that contained the victim. After parking the vehicle outside the spa, Hyun called a family member to pick him up, who then drove Hyun to a local hospital due to unrelated injuries. While at the hospital, Hyun reportedly asked the family member to retrieve a personal item from the silver sedan, leading to the discovery of the body.
A search warrant was executed at a residence on Stable Gate in unincorporated Lawrenceville, a home associated with Eric Hyun.
During a press conference, police revealed that the victim was a female from South Korea who had come to the Atlanta area to join a religious organization calling itself "Soldiers of Christ." Tragically, it is believed that she was held captive, repeatedly beaten, and starved. Her body weighed approximately 70 pounds when it was discovered, according to police.
Neighbors of the home on Stable Gate were shocked when they learned about the gruesome incident. "I'm in disbelief," said neighbor Glen Luteraan. "It's completely unexpected." Another neighbor, Isabel Rose, added, "It's kind of freaky now because I leave my door open all the time. The cars are unlocked all the time. So it's kind of freaky when you stop for a second and realize it's right next to your house."
Four of the suspects, including Joonhyun Lee, Joonho Lee, Hyunji Lee, and Gawon Lee, made their first appearance in court on Friday morning.
Friday morning, a magistrate Judge talked with the suspects through an interpreter.
"You have four felony charges. One is tampering with evidence. The next one is concealing the death of another, the third is felony murder and the fourth is false imprisonment," the judge stated.
All of the suspects appeared very compliant in court.
The judge did not grant them bond, and attorneys were appointed for three of the suspects. Joonhyun Lee stated in court that he would hire his own attorney.
Police say three of the suspects are brothers and the female is a girlfriend to one of the brothers.
In a major development, FOX 5 News has learned police believe the victim's injuries are consistent with a religious ritual.
The victim's identity remains undisclosed as her next-of-kin have not been notified. The sauna, distancing itself from the incident, issued a statement on social media emphasizing its commitment to customer safety and cooperation with law enforcement. Police have confirmed there is no connection between the sauna and the homicide.
On Friday afternoon, the GCPD notified the media that detectives secured multiple criminal street gang warrants against each of the suspects. Georgia law describes a criminal street gang as ""any organization, association, or group of three or more persons associated in fact, whether formal or informal, which engages in criminal gang activity."
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is urged to contact GCPD detectives at 770-513-5300. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or www.stopcrimeATL.com, with the potential for a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this case.