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2010/03/05 15:46 KST
Couple who starved baby girl to death were raising an online girl character: police

SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- A couple, who were arrested earlier this week for neglecting their baby girl and letting her starve to death, had actually been raising an online girl character, the police said on Friday.

The couple, residents of a southern Seoul suburb, allegedly neglected their prematurely born three-month-old daughter, feeding her just once a day in between 12-hour stretches at a neighborhood Internet cafe. Police said they had become obsessed with raising a virtual girl character called "Anima" in the popular role-playing game "Prius Online."

   "The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life, because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby," said Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon. "They indulged themselves in the on-line game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby."

   Experts said the couple appeared to have lost track of reality.