YOKOHAMA – Police said Tuesday they have arrested Yuji Motte, a 26-year-old baby sitter in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, in connection with the death of a boy whose body was found Monday morning in his apartment.
Motte was hired by the boy’s mother through an online baby-sitting broker website. He was charged with abandoning the boy’s body.
The baby sitter was quoted by the police as telling investigators, “I drank medicine at noon Sunday and fell asleep, and when I woke up Monday morning, (he) was dead.”
The police, who raided Motte’s apartment Tuesday morning, said the boy aged about 2 had sustained bruises, while an 8-month-old boy, believed to be his younger brother, was found safe inside the apartment.
The police were looking for the boys after their mother, who is in her 20s and lives in Yokohama, reported to the police that her children were missing.
The mother said she initially contacted the baby sitter via email earlier this month. She only knew his email address and surname but did not know where he would look after the two children, according to the police.
Motte was supposed to have the two boys under his care from Friday to Sunday. The mother lost contact with Motte after receiving an email from him about how her children were doing on Saturday.
Motte’s 50-year-old mother told reporters Monday in front of her home in Yokohama that her son did not have any qualifications as a baby sitter.
According to her, Motte began to live alone in the Saitama apartment last November, where he started baby-sitting. The mother, who herself did not have any related qualifications, sometimes helped him when he needed an extra hand.
Motte also worked part time at a day care center in his hometown of Yokohama once a week. The head of the center described him as popular among the kids and that he did not seem like the type who would harm them.
Motte ran a website that promoted his baby-sitting services, on which he made such statements as “24-hour care that (gives clients) a sense of security,” “We can provide care outside your home,” and “We will care of babies of all ages.”
There is no law requiring baby sitters to be certified. Some parents find and hire their sitters by going online, sometimes keeping their names anonymous.
According to Mayumi Nagasaki, head of the All-Japan Childcare Services Association, a baby sitter is defined as someone who “visits the home of the kids they’re entrusted with and takes care of them temporarily.” Because Motte took care of the boys in his own home, not their mother’s, Nagasaki suggested that by definition he can’t technically be called a baby sitter.