A TODDLER was left to starve to death in an empty home after her "mum" abandoned her to run off with another man.
The three-year-old girl was found dead at the home in Gumi city, South Korea, and police have arrested the tot's biological mother and sister.
The remains of the youngster were found on February 10, and investigators believe she had passed away from starvation some six months earlier.
However, DNA tests revealed that the girl's apparent mother who was arrested, identified only by the name Kim, turned out to actually be the victim's biological sister.
Investigators found that the victim's apparent grandmother, Seok, 49, was actually her biological mother.
It's claimed by local media that she had unloaded her newborn on to her eldest daughter for her to raise with her then-husband.
Testing also revealed that Seok's husband was not the child's biological father. The police are currently trying to work out the father's identity.
The police believe that after Kim divorced her then-husband, Hong, in April last year, she abandoned her younger sister and went off to live with a new man.
She decided to leave the child behind, allegedly saying that she “did not like the baby girl because she came from Hong" according to Koreaboo.
Local media also report that Kim had given birth to a child of her own at around the same time as her mother.
The alleged child's whereabouts is unknown, and the police are currently searching for the youngster.
As the effective guardian of the toddler who died of starvation, Kim faces charges of child neglect.
Seok was arrested on March 10 and both suspects remain in preventive detention as the investigation continues.
Under public pressure to ramp up efforts to prevent child abuse in South Korea, the police launched an awareness campaign last month.
An amendment to the child abuse law, known as the Jung-in Act, was also passed in Parliament on February 26, making the death penalty a possible punishment for fatal child abuse.
Child abusers can now be charged for murder even if they caused death unintentionally, according to Straits Times.
Those found guilty could face the death penalty or up to seven years in jail – up from the current maximum five-year imprisonment.
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