WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – In a bizarre case, West Des Moines police say a woman has been charged in the death of her husband — a homicide that appears to have an element of torture involved.
According to police, officers were called to 8350 EP True Parkway in West Des Moines at around 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
Police found found the 911 caller, Gowun Park, performing CPR on her husband, 41-year-old Sung Nam, KCCI reported.
According to police, Nam was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The criminal complaint indicates emergency crews found Nam lying face down on the floor in the office of the home. Police report his lips were blue and he had no vital signs.
Moreover, court documents show Park, 41, admitted to binding Nam’s hands and feet by zip ties and then bound him with a rope to a chair earlier that day. Police say Park stuffed an item of clothing in Nam’s mouth to prevent him from yelling and placed duct tape over his mouth.
Furthermore, police say she duct taped a towel over his head, covering his eyes.
Park told police she did not free her husband, even though he was in distress and requested to be untied.
According to court documents, “Nam was confined to a room and bound to a chair, unable to freely move about and free himself, ultimately leading to his death.”
Police say Park called 911 stating that she found her husband unresponsive, then tried to hide and conceal the binding items prior to the arrival of emergency crews, KCCI reported.
After a preliminary investigation, Park was arrested at the West Des Moines Police Department and booked for first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.
“Ms. Park’s actions and in-actions were directly responsible for Mr. Nam’s death. The injuries sustained by Mr. Nam were not self-inflicted. Ms. Park stated that the only people present during the duration of the events were her and her husband, Sung Woo Nam,” court records show.
Police say the investigation is continuing, but there is no danger to the community. Moreover, they did not disclose a motivation for the crime.
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KCCI discovered that Park is an assistant professor of economics at Simpson College. The school released the following statement:
West Des Moines police have informed Simpson College that Dr. Gowun Park, Assistant Professor of Economics, has been arrested and charged in the death of her husband in a Des Moines suburb. The investigation is ongoing, and police have informed us there is no threat or any link to the campus community. The college has suspended Dr. Park and will cooperate with authorities in their investigation.
Arrangements are being made to cover classes. Any member of the campus community with questions, please contact Christie Denniston Simpson College, Executive Director of Marketing and PR, at [email protected] at 303-827-5164.
Simpson junior Thomas Mussig, who had Park as an academic adviser, told the Des Moines Register “she was one of the sweetest ladies I’ve never known.”
But Mussig had no idea Park was married — she’d always say she was single and her family was living in South Korea.
“I had her in class for three years; she was saying that for three years,” Mussig told the paper. “She would talk about how she’s single.”
Park received her doctoral degree in economics in 2017, according to City University of New York alumni records. She also attended New York University, getting her master’s in economics in 2010 and teaching there as an adjunct professor in 2015, according to a school spokesman.
Simpson hired the college professor to teach in 2017. That same year, she bought the condo where Nam was found dead, state records show, according to the Register.
Park is being held in the Dallas County Jail in lieu of a $5 million bond.