Abducted 6-year-old found unhurt

Kyodo

A 6-year-old girl who disappeared Thursday afternoon was found unhurt early Sunday in Kitakyushu’s Yahatanishi Ward in Fukuoka Prefecture, about 30 km east of where she was last seen. A man is being sought in her alleged abduction.

Tadashi Kubo, 57, an unemployed man with no fixed address, was put on a wanted list Monday on suspicion of kidnapping Saori Tokunaga, police said. Kubo had been arrested several years ago in a similar kidnapping case in the prefecture.

His fingerprints matched those on a baby carriage found near the scene where Tokunaga was found, they said. She told police that her kidnapper occasionally put her in a baby carriage while she was being held captive.

Tokunaga, who disappeared while playing with a friend in a park by her nursery school in the town of Tsuyazaki in the prefecture, was found by a passerby at around 6:15 a.m., police said.

The passerby, a 37-year-old woman who lives nearby, was on her way home from work when she saw the girl wrapped in a blanket and crouching on a sidewalk. The woman notified police after the girl identified herself.

She said that when she was in the park, a man with graying hair who looked between 60 and 70 years old came by with a dog and asked her if she wanted to play with the animal, police said.

She said the man then led her away in a baby carriage. She was later deserted by the kidnapper in the mountains.

“At night, we slept on a mountain. When I woke up in the morning (Sunday), the man wasn’t there, so I came down from the mountain by myself,” police quoted her as saying.

The girl’s mother, Kumiko Tokunaga, a 33-year-old Shinto shrine worker who lives in the town of Fukuma, was reunited with her daughter later in the day, police said. The girl was wearing the same clothes as when she disappeared.

She looked tired but was calm, they added. On Monday, she attended an entrance ceremony to a municipal elementary school with her mother.

A man with graying hair, appearing to be in his 60s and with a dog in tow, has been seen in the past talking to small children in the same park, trying to lure the kids away with candy, police said.