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Hiroshima teen’s friends questioned over death

Kyodo

Police began questioning on a voluntary basis three friends of a 16-year-old girl arrested Sunday for allegedly dumping the body of a former classmate on a mountain in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, police sources said Wednesday.

The arrested girl has told the police that she had killed the ex-classmate by herself, but investigators suspect that others — including the three who appeared for questioning — might have been involved in the slaying.

According to the sources, the girl told investigators that on the day she abandoned her classmate’s body in the mountains in late June, she and the victim went to the site by car from the city of Hiroshima. Police, however, have already confirmed there was no record of a taxi taking the two girls to the site.

The girl being held has remained silent about who drove them to the mountain, police said.

In a message sent to friends before turning herself in Friday, the girl wrote on the popular Line instant-messaging app: “(We’re) going to be arrested.” Investigators said the message seem to hint that others might have been involved. As both the arrested and the victim were too young to have a driver’s license, police suspect a third person old enough to drive was also involved in the case.

An autopsy confirmed that the victim had been dead at least for two to four weeks before her body was found Saturday, police said, adding that there were no shoes found on the corpse.

Meanwhile, an acquaintance of the victim told Kyodo News that the girl was seen near her home in Hiroshima with three or four other young men and women around the end of June.

“I remember because it had been a while since I last saw her,” the acquaintance said, adding that those who were with the girl were not familiar faces. “(When I heard about the incident,) it came to my mind that they might have something to do with the case,” the source added.