SEOUL (UPDATE) - Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon, tapped as a possible 2022 presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, has been found dead amid reports he faced a criminal complaint of sexual assault, Yonhap News Agency said Friday.
The mayor was found dead in northern Seoul after he was reported missing by his family, Yonhap said, citing police.
Park's daughter filed a police report at around 5:15 p.m. on Thursday that he "had left home 4 to 5 hours ago after leaving words like a will, with his phone currently off," Yonhap reported.
The police and the city have confirmed that Park, wearing a hat and jumper and carrying a backpack, left his official residence in Seoul early in the day and did not show up for work, while he canceled a scheduled event appearance.
Park's former secretary is believed to have recently filed a criminal complaint with police, alleging she had been sexually assaulted by him, according to Yonhap.
Police, mobilizing drones and police dogs, reportedly concentrated their search in the area of Gilsangsa Temple in Seoul's northeastern ward of Seongbuk where his mobile phone signal was last accessed.
Park, a human rights lawyer, was first elected mayor of Seoul in 2011. He was re-elected in 2014 and again in 2018.
He won praise for his handling of the coronavirus situation in Seoul. In a public opinion poll in May, he had a 60.5 percent approval rating.