The Real Issue
What happened to Michael "Mike" White between 9:45 and 11:05pm May 10,2008?
May 27th update: Three witnesses have come forward since the last vigil outside the sauna. Please pray for their safety and courage so they may have the strength to report what they know to the police. They are very brave and are risking so much by speaking about that night, please keep them in your thoughts & prayers.
|American Boy Dead at Public Bath in S. Korea Numerous Angry Letters from Foreigners Pour In
A growing number of foreigners in South Korea are protesting against the sudden death of 14-year-old American boy who was found on May 10, 2008 dead at a public bathhouse in Gyeongsan City, North Gyeongsan Province, South Korea. They are complaining about the poor emergency care of South Korea's 911 service and about the lack of quick response of the bathhouse' employees. A number of angry letters flooded in The Seoul Times newsroom after the incident. The South Korean police started an investigation about the mystery death of the young American boy. Here are some the letters from the foreigners living in South Korea. Bright and Loving Kid Found Dead at a Public Bath Just over a week ago, a very bright and loving kid was found dead at a public bath.
Mike White was a friend of mine and he will be missed. His loss is very personal and made even more difficult to bear by the fact that so little is known about the circumstances of his death.
However, as personal as this loss is, it does bring up a whole host of issues that we should all be interested in. For one, why is it so difficult for a grieving mother to get information about the circumstances of his death?
For another, were there other people in the baths with him? If so, why didn't they help him and why aren't they coming forward with more information? Were they afraid to help? Does Korea lack Good Samaritan laws?
According to what little information has been disseminated, the ambulance took over 45 minutes to get to the scene. When it finally did arrive, it was poorly equipped to deal with the situation.
Was this just a fluke, or should some light be shined on the state of Korea's s emergency services? There is a sense that, rather than struggle with all of the difficult issues this story brings up, those involved (the sauna, the police, the press) seem to be trying to ignore the issue in the hopes that it will go away.
I sincerely hope that is not the case. For those that knew Mike, this matter is far too important to just be forgotten and it should be of interest to anyone (Korean and foreigner) living in Korea.
I Was Shocked by Mike's Death Bathhouses of the Royal Hawaii JimJil Bang in Gyeongsan City Dear Editor, I saw the news about Michael White and was shocked.
He was only 14 years old but was a very big boy and may have been seen by the staff at the bathhouse as an older teen. I feel so sad for his mother and hope the press can take a balanced look at this story and find some better answers.
Especially I wonder if there were any witnesses, since bath houses are separated and Mike must have been there by himself.
I met him through my work with KOTESOL and his mother. He got dragged along to planning meetings and was a real active guy. He helped me out by taking care of my two children and acting as an older brother to them at a few conferences.
I can't stress enough that this issue should not be looked as an American vs Korean but as an issue of getting to the bottom of unsettling circumstances. From what I heard of the medical report he had trauma to the throat and I wonder if there could have be a fight or some kind of incident that is being covered up. Please do what you can and try to keep any national sentiment out of this and look at it as a local boy let down by our community. Korean and expat inclusive.
Kevin Landry lklandry@gmail. com
Dear Editor: It is with much sadness and concern that I am communicating to you about the untimely death of a young American man, Michael Stephen White. On the evening of May 10th, 2008 at the Royal Hawaii JimJil Bang in Gyeongsan City, Michael experienced bodily trauma from which he did not recover.
This death was that of a healthy 14-year-old. I had personally known him for more then two years. He was an active, bright boy who loved life and will be deeply missed by all those who knew him. The staff and administration at Royal Hawaii must be held accountable for lack of action on the night of his death.
Why was Michael's mother notified about his dire circumstances only after he was already brought to the ambulance in the parking lot of Royal Hawaii? Michael's mother was in the women’s' section of the same facility at the same time. Why was the ambulance transport service brought for Michael who was already reported dead? Who reported him dead? Did not the ambulance service staff need verification of facts before sending only a transport vehicle? Michael was unconscious in the ambulance, not deceased. If a properly equipped ambulance was provided, Michael had had a good chance of being saved.
The Gyeongsan City Police Department must be held accountable for releasing a proper and full report to Michael's mother, Stephannie White. Witnesses who were in the men’s' section of the Royal Hawaii need to come forward to explain exactly what happened. Michael's death is a suspicious death.
A full investigation is paramount. More information about Michael, his mother Stephannie and the ongoing investigation can be found on these web sites: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14329648313&ref=nf http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=13958066461
Michael will be forever be fondly remembered by those who knew and loved him. Sincerely, Richard James Slezak, B.A., B.S.W. Daejeon University Department of Educational Development Volunteer Warden for Daejeon City Canadian Embassy in Seoul 011-9483-8022 topgunkorea@ gmail.com
See my web sites: http://richardslezak.blogspot.com/ http://www.protravelnetwork.com/richardslezak
For Editorial in Memory of Stephen Michael White ("Mike")
I first met Mike (age 14) about three years ago. He was volunteering with the group of student volunteers I was working with at the annual Kotesol conference. Even though he was so young, he was also very savvy and, best of all, brought a spark of relaxation and fun to our frenzied group. I've met him several times since then and he was always very kind and gracious beyond his years. I feel so shocked and saddened by Mike's untimely passing. My deep condolences to Mike's family and friends. Sincerely,
Gwen Atkinson gwenniea@yahoo. com
Testimonial to Michael White I met Michael in the winter of 2007 when he and his mother drove down to Pusan to deliver the special gift of a rescued puppy to me. I could instantly see instantly the optimism, love and light that radiated from Michael. Though I only met him for a brief time I could feel that he was truly a special young man. He shared a special bond with his mother that was instantly evident. They were more than just son and mother, they were best of friends which even to a stranger was apparent. That he was taken from us too soon is tragic but it is important to celebrate the life that he led and to remember the person he was and the spirit and light that radiated from him.
Cheryl Binstock (Busan) cherylbvolley@ hotmail.com
Mike Stood Out among Many Volunteers I have been in Korea for five years, and have been involved with the international conference of KOTESOL for four years. I was the Venue Signs Manager when I met Mike. For two years in a row he volunteered the night before the conference to help put up signs. I was responsible for many volunteers, but Mike stood out among them. He was kind, attentive, helpful, and most of all he was respectful. I noticed what a great worker he was, and that impressed me. At some points, I could actually leave him in charge of other volunteers, and I had every confidence that the job would get done. He was a leader, and while I only know him for a brief time, he will be remembered as being likeable, congenial, responsible, dependable, and hardworking. Anyone would be better for having known Mike White.
Jennifer Brown (Canadian)
English Teacher - Myongji Elementary School (2006-present)
(Venue Signs Manager - KOTESOL International Conference - 2005-2007) jenniferjbrown@ canada.com