Murder arrest after baby found in Waikiki hotel

Friday 5pm follow-up: Murder arrest after baby found in Waikiki hotel
Published: Nov. 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 at 9:47 PM HST
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WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two days after a newborn was discovered dead inside a Waikiki hotel room, her mother remains hospitalized and under guard -- accused of murder.

32-year-old Jeongmi Yoon's condition has not been released, but multiple police sources say her baby was born alive and full term.

Hawaii News Now has learned Yoon was arrested just before midnight Wednesday at the Waikiki Sheraton after her newborn was discovered inside the reservoir tank of a toilet by a housekeeper who was cleaning the bathroom. It's unclear how long the baby girl was in there -- but sources say the medical examiner found water in her lungs, which indicates she had been breathing.

Yoon and her husband, who are visiting from Korea, had reportedly been staying in Waikiki for a few days.

There are no safe-haven laws in Korea, similar to that here in Hawai'i. As a result, officials report hundreds of unwanted babies are abandoned on the side of the street in South Korea every year. One pastor set-up a "baby drop-box" at his ministry in 2009. Lee Jong-rak has helped save nearly 600 hundred children who've been left there. According to the documentary, "The Drop Box", Lee is the only person in Korea who collects abandoned babies who are physically or mentally handicapped, or just neglected by unwilling or unable parents.

There are no details about the circumstances of Yoon's pregnancy -- however, police sources say her husband insists he did not know she was expecting. He reportedly was not inside the hotel room when the baby was discovered. The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) confirms it is providing him with assistance.

Police say they plan on charging Yoon with second-degree murder. Homicide detectives are still investigating.

More details as they develop on Hawaii News Now.

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