A South Korean man deported from the United States more than 20 years ago for murdering his brother faces U.S. felony charges after slipping back into the country by posing as his slain sibling, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.
Junne Kyoo Koh, who was convicted of the 1984 murder of his 16-year-old younger brother Sang Koh in the Seattle suburb Bellevue, was deported to South Korea in 1992, a U.S. federal court complaint filed this week said.
He used his dead brother's identity to re-enter the United States a year later and bought pistols, and he now faces immigration and gun charges, according to the complaint.
Koh was ordered held at a federal detention center in the Seattle area at an initial hearing in federal court in Seattle on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney's office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said. A preliminary hearing was set for April 7.
Police attention was drawn to Koh, who was born in South Korea, after he asked them to investigate the disappearance of his parents in 2014, the complaint said.
While investigating the missing persons report, Bellevue detectives seized two handguns belonging to Koh, citing threats he made against a neighbor he implicated in the family's disappearance and after handing detectives a suicide prevention pamphlet he said he took comfort in reading.
His family was later found to be safe.
Bellevue police learned of Koh's murder conviction during the missing persons investigation and determined that Koh had stolen his brother's identity, according to the complaint.
Police ultimately learned that Koh had multiple aliases and false identification documents. They confirmed his identity with fingerprints.
"I am not allowed to live in the United States," Koh wrote to a Bellevue detective, signing the name "Sam". "I therefore use many identities, including Sam."
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)