• Kyodo

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Police on Friday continued their hunt for a 17-year-old youth from the town of Osafune, Okayama Prefecture, suspected of assaulting four schoolmates and fatally bludgeoning his mother with a baseball bat.

Investigators said they have widened their search to include neighboring Hyogo Prefecture. They believe the boy is carrying between 50,000 yen and 60,000 yen in cash taken from his home.

Several local residents saw the boy riding away from his home on a bicycle late Wednesday afternoon, about the time his 42-year-old mother is believed to have been killed, police said.

Police said he earlier assaulted four fellow members of the school baseball team during practice. The youth may have been bullied by junior members of the team.

According to local police, some 80 officers were assigned Wednesday to search for the boy in the mountains near his home. On Friday, that number was increased to 105 and the focus of the search was moved to train stations and areas around the town.