Fukuoka man admits strangling girl, hiding body in closet


A man has been arrested in Buzen, Fukuoka Prefecture, after allegedly admitting to killing a 10-year-old girl, police said.

Toshiyuki Uchima, a 46-year-old construction worker, reportedly told the police he strangled fifth-grade student Miwa Ishibashi and hid her corpse in his dwelling.

The girl is believed to have died around noon Saturday. Her body was found in a closet on the second floor of the house of a male classmate, where Uchima lived with the boy’s mother, the police said.

Ishibashi was last seen getting out of her mother’s car near the house of her classmate’s grandmother, where she was expected to meet the classmate, at around 10 a.m. Saturday.

After the classmate’s mother informed Ishibashi’s parents that she did not show up, her parents reported her disappearance to the police.

They believe she encountered Uchima, who lives about 80 meters away, somewhere near the house.

Uchima’s lawyer, who has met with his client, reportedly quoted him as saying he killed the girl and then carried her body back home.

Detectives have investigated an area about 8 km from Uchima’s house, believing that he transported the victim there and then killed her.

A native of Okinawa, Uchima moved to Buzen a few years ago, neighbors said.

Many children, including Ishibashi, played together at the house of the classmate’s grandmother, where Uchima also visited once in a while, they said.