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Recycle shop pair may have killed staffer in ’04

Kyodo

Police have arrested a couple running a recycling shop in Chikugo, Fukuoka Prefecture, on suspicion of killing one of their former employees, who has been missing since July 2004.

Shinya Nakao, 47, and his wife, Chisa, 45, who had recently been arrested on theft charges, were rearrested Monday for allegedly assaulting Takashi Hidaka, who was 22 years old at the time he disappeared.

Based on Shinya’s statements, the police found part of a corpse buried in the backyard of Shinya’s parents’ house, also located in Chikugo, and confirmed by DNA analysis that the remains belonged to Hidaka.

Police believe that the victim was repeatedly hit in the face and head and kicked in his back by the two suspects in their apartment sometime between early May and late June 2004. They speculate the severe wounds resulted in traumatic hemorrhaging, and this is believed to be the leading cause of Hidaka’s death around late June 2004.

Hidaka, who came from Miyama, also in Fukuoka Prefecture, started working for Nakao in August 2003. He also reportedly lived together with the suspects.

Nakao’s lawyer, who attended the interrogation session, said Shinya denied having any intentions of killing Hidaka.

Police sources said police launched the investigation last year after speculating the couple might have been involved in a number of disappearances over the past 10 years, of relatives and staff at the shop, including Hidaka.