OSAKA — An 8-year-old girl was safely reunited with her parents Wednesday morning, 42 hours after she was apparently kidnapped while on her way home from school. Sayaka Teranishi had been held for a 42 million yen ransom, but was reunited with her parents outside a convenience store near her home in Settsu, Osaka Prefecture, after a man called her parents and reportedly said, “The money isn’t needed. You can have the kid back. Come pick her up.” Police have launched a manhunt for the kidnapper, who did not arrive at the designated ransom drop site. Teranishi was found by a woman at around 9:30 a.m. in a park a few kilometers from her home about 15 minutes after she was freed. She repeated her name over and over to the woman, who notified police. Unhurt and in relatively good health, the second-grader told authorities she had been fed until Tuesday night, police said. She described her kidnapper as a man with thinning hair in his 40s who spoke the Osaka dialect, wore a beige jacket and black pants and drove a white car, police said, noting she told them there appeared to be only one abductor. Teranishi’s parents realized that she was missing at 4:30 p.m. Monday, when she failed to return home from school. She had last been seen at around 3:30 p.m., leaving school alone. Later that night the family received two phone calls at home from her abductor and notified police. The caller then gave them directions for finding a letter taped to the bottom of a mailbox outside the Higashi-Yodogawa Kamishinjo Post Office, 3.5 km from the girl’s home. The three-page letter demanded a 42 million yen ransom. The girl is the daughter of Isao Teranishi, deputy section chief of the Kita-Osaka Agricultural Cooperative’s Yamada branch. Her grandfather, Itsuro, is a member of the board of directors at a construction company in Osaka and previously worked for the former Hanshin Expressway Public Corp. The note instructed the girl’s mother, Naomi, to carry a cellular phone and deliver the money alone Tuesday afternoon. The man later contacted the mother several times on a prepaid cell phone left for her in a coin locker. In total, the man placed 24 calls to the family, giving successive directions for finding four additional notes containing further instructions that had been pasted to the backs of benches and phone booths. The use of prepaid cell phones, which can be purchased without identification, suggest the suspect was familiar with police techniques and intensive planning, investigators said. Calling himself “a professional,” the caller took numerous precautions to dodge police, using a telephone answering service and frequently changing his instructions to the mother, who later was joined by her husband when they delivered the ransom. Some analysts say the kidnapper may have taken the girl to play an elaborate game and match wits with police. The use of recorded messages, notes left at expressway service areas and a typewritten ransom note with commas and periods removed showed similarities to the famous Glico-Morinaga extortion case of 1984, which remains unresolved. To deliver the ransom, the parents traveled toward Kyoto on the Meishin Expressway, doubled back, and dropped the bag containing the money from the expressway in Suita, Osaka Prefecture. But no one showed up for the ransom. Instead, the man called, saying, “The police were there. You should take better care of your child.”According to investigators, the notes and verbal comments seem to indicate the kidnapper knew the girl, the family, and their financial situation. Teranishi lives with her parents, 6-year-old sister and 64-year-old grandfather in a large, two-story home on a 500 sq. meter plot. The family owns three foreign luxury cars and a six-story apartment next to the home. Their real estate alone is worth an estimated 1 billion yen.

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