In April 2006, a young girl arrived at an orphanage in Gyeongju with the following letter, saying it was from her mother:
“Eunbi doesn’t even know who her father is. Her name is Eunbi, but she doesn’t even know what her last name is… She was born when I was just nineteen… We tried to live together as much as we could, but it’s gotten too hard now. Please, please take care of this poor girl from now on.”
Eunbi then said that she and her mother were both homeless and that she was never officially registered with the government. She also claimed she had never had an education and knew how to read and write at a very basic level.
The orphanage took her in and when Eunbi started going to school, everyone was amazed at how quickly she was picking things up. She excelled in and completed the curriculum from 1st-9th grade in just one year. At 15 she took the General Education Developments tests and passed, making her ready to officially enter high school.
The next year, Eunbi left the orphanage to live in the dorms of her local high school where she continued to excel, placing at 13th place of her school in terms of grades. Then one afternoon, on January 5, 2010, Eunbi mysteriously disappeared without a trace.
The story then takes a very interesting twist, as it turns out Eunbi had lied about everything!
One month later, on February 3, 2010, a man came forward, reporting that Eunbi was his niece and that she was, in fact, living with her mother and doing fine. Her real name was not released but her surname was Lee and she was born in 1989.
Lee ran away from home at 17 and pretended to be a 14-year-old orphan beggar when she reached the orphanage in Gyeongju. The letter she presented them was fabricated by her as well.
And the reason why Lee excelled in school? Because she had already been through all of the schoolings and was instead just re-learning everything.
When authorities questioned Lee about her motives, she could only reply that she “could not remember” and her family, classmates and the orphanage backed these claims up as they said she often showed signs of amnesia.
Lee didn’t receive any charges as she technically had not done anything illegal.