YOKOHAMA – The former nursing care employee under arrest for allegedly throwing three elderly patients to their deaths at a facility in Kawasaki is opening up to investigators on why he committed the acts, police sources said.
“I resented the words and behavior” of the home’s elderly residents, Hayato Imai, 23, who was dismissed last May by the facility’s operator, S Amiyu Kawasaki Saiwai-cho, reportedly told investigators.
He also reportedly told them that “a lot happened” at his workplace and that he felt “sorry” for his actions.
The comments suggest workplace stress may have been a factor, the sources said.
Imai was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder in connection with the November 2014 death of an elderly male patient who fell from a fourth-floor balcony.
He admitted to that slaying as well as to throwing two women to their deaths at the facility the following month, investigators said earlier.
The male victim, Tamio Ushizawa, 87, fell to his death sometime between 11 p.m. Nov. 3 and 1:50 a.m. Nov. 4, 2014. An 86-year-old woman fell to her death from the same veranda on Dec. 9, while a 96-year-old woman fell from a sixth-floor balcony that New Year’s Eve.
Investigators said Imai was on duty on all three occasions. The balconies are all guarded by 120-cm-high safety barriers, making it unlikely the victims jumped on their own.
He was also the first person to report that Ushizawa had fallen from the balcony after allegedly claiming to have discovered the body. The police suspect Imai tried to cover up the crime by making it appear that the man had fallen over the handrail.
According to investigators and officials at the nursing facility, Imai and two other colleagues worked the late to early morning shift starting Nov. 3. While making his rounds alone, he said he noticed that Ushizawa was not in his fourth-floor room, according to the police.
Residents live alone and can lock their doors, but Ushizawa left his room unlocked, facility officials said.
Imai was also the first person to notify the facility and fire department of the death of the 96-year-old female resident, the investigators said.
The third woman was discovered by a different worker at the home.
The nursing facility, operated by an affiliate of major nursing care service company Message Co., fired Imai shortly after his arrest last May over a theft charge, for which he received a suspended sentence.
Also Wednesday, the police searched Imai’s home in Yokohama.