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Baby sitter in dead toddler case to face child porn charges

Kyodo

A baby sitter arrested in March over the death of a child in his care was served a fresh arrest warrant Monday on suspicion of producing child pornography, investigators said.

Yuji Motte, 26, was initially arrested on March 18 on suspicion of abandoning the body of a 2-year-old boy found dead the previous day in an apartment in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture, that Motte used as a child-care center.

Investigators said they found several images of naked children, some thought to have been under Motte’s care, saved on devices seized from his apartment.

Police are continuing to investigate the boy’s cause of death. He had sustained several bruises, and color changes in the skin around his mouth observed during an autopsy raised suspicions he may have been suffocated.

Yokohama prosecutors said they are also considering criminal charges against Motte over his treatment of the boy’s 9-month-old brother, who was found alive in the same apartment but needed hospital treatment for hypothermia.

Authorities are also investigating allegations of child neglect relating to the younger child in April.

The boys’ mother, who is in her 20s and lives in Yokohama, hired Motte through a baby-sitting broker website. She told reporters in March she had previously left the boys in Motte’s care several times but decided to stop after the older boy returned home twice with injuries.

The mother said she did not realize the baby sitter who looked after the boys most recently was Motte because he used a false name and had another man in his 30s pick up the children. She called police when the children were not returned on time and she could not contact the caregiver she left the kids with.

The police said Motte has denied the charge of abandoning a body, insisting he fell asleep for over 12 hours after taking medicine and found the boy dead when he awoke.

The arrest of Motte and the discovery of the dead boy has sparked public consternation after reports highlighted the acute shortage of day-care centers for working mothers across the country and the lack of regulations on baby-sitting services, particularly those that operate online.