YOKOHAMA – The 26-year-old baby sitter from Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, under arrest for allegedly abandoning the body of a 2-year-old boy who had been in his care, had offered his services under a fictitious name, police said Wednesday.
Yuji Motte was arrested Tuesday after police discovered the body of Riku Yamada in his apartment the day before.
The boy’s 8-month-old younger brother was found safe inside the apartment.
The dead boy had sustained multiple bruises to his body, with an autopsy report suggesting that changes in skin color around his mouth indicate choking as a probable cause of death, police sources said.
Motte, who was hired via a baby-sitting broker website by the boys’ 22-year-old mother, has denied the charges, insisting that he did not intend to abandon the body.
Claiming to have a child care certificate, Motte said he drank medicine around noon Sunday before falling asleep, and that when he woke up Monday morning the boy was dead, according to the police.
He has also reportedly insisted that he took care of the boys and properly fed them before falling asleep.
The boys’ mother, speaking to reporters Tuesday night, revealed that since meeting Motte last year via an online baby-sitting broker site she had left her children in his care several times. She also said that her older son had returned home twice with a swollen face and bruises on his back.
She reportedly told the police that she had not intended to ask Motte to baby-sit the boys again, and that she was unhappy with his work because she was charged for services he did not provide. When using the service for the final time, she claimed she did not realize Motte would be the baby sitter, as he identified himself using the name Yamamoto.
Motte’s website advertises his apartment as a child care center. The site is registered with the baby-sitting broker website.
Investigative sources suggested that Motte might have intentionally hidden his identity to induce Yamada to entrust her kids with him again.
Meanwhile, the agency running the broker website said that the boys’ mother was not the only client who had complained about Motte’s services.
She said she first began communicating with Motte in early March and handed her kids over to him on Friday evening via another man in his 30s whose services she had previously used. She said she did not realize that Motte would be taking care of her kids. She also said she did not know Motte was from Saitama Prefecture.
Police launched their investigation Sunday after she told them she could not contact the caregiver she had left her kids with.
Last year, the mother — who now suspects Motte abused her children while they were under his care — arranged to pay him ¥8,000 per month to take care of her children twice a week for a period of four or five months. This was a significantly lower rate than standard baby-sitting fees, which are at least a couple of thousand yen per hour.
“I didn’t have (a lot of) money or anyone to leave my children with,” she said when asked why she decided to use the website again.
The dead boy’s 44-year-old grandmother said that she often took care of both of her grandchildren on weekends, but “this time it was too short a notice” and that was why the mother had no choice but to turn to the broker website.