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Fairfax police continue exorcism probe in Centreville homicide

Fairfax County police have obtained more medical documents, and revealed more details, as they seek a suspect in the July 2008 death of Rayoung Kim, an 18-year-old Centreville woman who apparently died during a Korean exorcism in her home.

As first reported by The Post last year, Fairfax police believe that a spiritual shaman and family members were used in a ritual to try to drive evil spirits out of Rayoung, who was believed to be mentally ill. She died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner, but no one has been charged.

In a search warrant affidavit filed late last week by Fairfax homicide Detective Robert A. Bond, police disclosed that Rayoung's younger brother had called 911 to report that his sister was unconscious. Paramedics responded and took Rayoung to Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she died three days later.

Bond wrote that his investigation revealed that "Rayoung had been previously diagnosed with mental health problems," and that her "mother had participated in what she described as a 'religious prayer' to help Rayoung with her mental health problems."

Bond continued: "Part of the 'religious prayer' consisted of putting pressure on Rayoung's chest and placing an object in Rayoung's mouth. Investigation revealed that just prior to Rayoung losing consciousness, Rayoung's mother was participating in this 'religious prayer' on Rayoung."

Bond's search warrant sought more medical records from Fairfax Hospital because "the 'religious prayer' may have contributed to the death of Rayoung," which was quietly ruled a homicide.

There have been several other deaths in the United States related to Korean exorcisms, some of which have resulted in manslaughter charges and convictions.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  March 16, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Homicide , Tom Jackman , Updates  
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