According to the Jeju Provincial Police Agency, the toddler’s body was discovered by a fisherman about 20 meters from the coast of Jeju Island’s Aewol-eup at 6:36 p.m. Sunday.
Preliminary autopsy results showed the girl died as a result of drowning. No other external injuries on the girl have been reported.
The coastal road where the body was found is a popular tourist spot during the daytime. However, few people frequent the area at night, when temperatures dip and a strong sea breeze picks up.
Police do not believe the mother took her daughter to the area for sightseeing purposes and have ruled out any other suspects in light of evidence.
The mother and daughter had been reported as missing since Nov. 1, after the mother’s parents in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, had not had contact with them for days, according to Paju Police Station.
Airport security footage showed them arriving to Jeju Island around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and going by taxi to a motel in Yongdam-dong.
Police checked the motel room and found leftover charcoal that had been burning inside the bathroom and suspect the mother tried to commit suicide.
The mother and child then took a taxi to a beach in the north of the island at about 2:30 a.m. Security footage from across the street showed the mother carrying her daughter wrapped in a blanket down the staircase leading to the sea rocks. But, there were no signs of her coming up the stairs in the footage, police said.
Authorities have sent out a search team of four vessels and 50 officers to look for the missing mother.
By Catherine Chung (firstname.lastname@example.org)