JULY 22, 2014 — South Korea's National Police Agency says that a badly decomposed body found June 12 is that of Yoo Byung-eun, the fugitive owner of the ferry Sewol. Police have been searching for him since soon after the April 16 sinking of the ferry. Confirmed deaths in the disaster have now reached 294, with another 10 people still missing.
Yoo Byung-eun is the former head of Semo Group, which is the predecessor of the Sewol-ho ferry operator, but is suspected to have retained effective ownership of the ferry company.
Yoo Byung-eun and various family members have been sought on charges of embezzlement and criminal negligence. Though several family members have been detained, authorities are still hunting for Yoo Byung-eun's eldest son, Dae-kyun.
Yoo Byung-eun's body was identified through fingerprint and DNA matches, but authorities don't yet know how he died. The cadaver was found in a field in Korea's southwestern city of Suncheon with bottles of alcohol near it, along with a "health product" manufactured by the cult with which the Yoo family is associated.