KOBE – The man arrested in connection with the murder of a 6-year-old girl in Kobe told police he could not confirm security camera footage that appeared to show him near the girl around the time she disappeared, as he had been drinking, investigative sources said Thursday.
“I don’t remember whether I was walking behind (the girl) because I was drunk,” Yasuhiro Kimino, 47, was quoted as telling police.
He was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of abandoning the dismembered body of the girl, Mirei Ikuta. The police plan to add a murder charge in the course of the investigation.
The suspect and the victim are both from Nagata Ward.
The police on Thursday searched Kimino’s home and swept a wooded area about 30 meters away, where he allegedly abandoned Ikuta’s severed body parts. They also moved Kimino to a prosecutor’s office.
The investigative sources said footage from two security cameras, including one at a convenience store, shows Kimino walking behind Ikuta on the afternoon of Sept. 11, shortly before she went missing.
Police officers visited Kimino’s home five days later and inspected his bathroom, but they found nothing suspicious at that time.
Kimino said at that time he had “come to know” about the victim “because the media reported she was missing,” the sources quoted him as saying.
On Tuesday, the girl’s severed head and other body parts were found inside three plastic bags left in the wooded area. There were three other bags nearby containing household garbage apparently connected to Kimino, one of which contained a medical clinic registration card in his name.
They said the suspect has so far exercised his right to remain silent.
Kimino and the girl shared an affection for cats. According to Hiroko Morita, 64, who lives nearby and is close to the Ikuta family, the girl would often come to her home to play with her cats.
A man in his 40s who lived in the same apartment complex as Kimino said he gave him two cats at Kimino’s request. But Kimino neglected the pets and the two had an argument over how to feed them.