CORPSES FOUND AFTER FIRE

Youth held in slaying of siblings, mom

Kyodo

An 18-year-old was arrested Thursday after his mother and two siblings were found dead following a fire in their apartment in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, police said.

The youth has admitted killing all three and then setting the apartment on fire, police said.

Stab wounds were found on the 43-year-old woman, her 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, they said.

The oldest son, who had several knives, was initially arrested on suspicion of violating the Firearm and Sword Control Law but faces murder charges, police said.

The son disappeared after the fire broke out around 10:45 p.m. Wednesday in the family’s second-floor apartment and was allegedly brandishing a survival knife with a 25-cm blade when he was apprehended early Thursday at JR Hachinohe Station.

He pulled the knife when an officer tried to stop and question him at the station, police said. When he was arrested, he had seven other knives inside his jacket and in a paper bag, they said.

Police quoted the son as saying he killed the three and laid their bodies on a futon in the apartment. “I don’t want to say why,” he was quoted as saying about a possible motive.

According to friends of the 15-year-old son who was killed, the boy had earlier told them he was scared of his older brother because he was collecting knives.

The family moved into the apartment several years ago, the friends said. The 18-year-old son had apparently withdrew into himself and mostly stayed at home, they said.

“The (15-year-son) once told me that his brother sprayed kerosene in the apartment and tried to set it afire. He also said he woke up one morning to find the brother pointing a knife at him,” one of the friends said.

Autopsies will be conducted on the victims to determine the precise cause of death, police said.

The bodies were found side by side in the living room, and they were barely damaged by the fire, police added. The woman’s body had cuts in the neck and the abdomen, while the two children had neck wounds.