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Sasebo girl held in slaying didn’t hold grudge against victim, police say

Kyodo

The 16-year-old girl in the city of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, suspected of killing and dismembering a high school classmate did not hold a grudge against the victim, investigative sources said Tuesday, retracting an earlier view that there may have been personal problems between the two.

The Nagasaki Prefectural Police, who have been interviewing people close to the two girls since the murder on Saturday night, said they could not detect any signs of trouble between the girl and the victim, Aiwa Matsuo, 16. The suspect’s name has been withheld because she is a minor.

Police are now looking into events leading up to the murder, in which the suspect allegedly invited Matsuo into her apartment with an intent to kill her, by examining messages exchanged on their smartphones.

Authorities said Wednesday that they had found Matsuo’s smartphone outside the suspect’s apartment room. They believe the suspect discarded it in an attempt to dispose of evidence.

Meanwhile, the investigators have interviewed the father of the suspect in connection with the killing. The father, in his 50s, remarried shortly after the suspect’s mother died of pancreatic cancer last October, police said, noting the mother’s death may have affected her emotionally. It was also around that time the girl attacked her father with a metal baseball bat and injured him, police said.

The Sasebo school the two girls attended held an emergency meeting with parents of all students on Tuesday night. The school has arranged one-on-one meetings between homeroom teachers and each student of the school, and is offering mental health counseling to those in need.