• Kyodo

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A 37-year-old man arrested for unlawfully withdrawing money from the bank account of a 75-year-old Wakayama woman who went missing in early April has admitted to killing her and burying the body, local police said Monday.

According to investigators, the body of Kiyoko Ishikura was found buried in an empty lot in the town of Momoyama in the prefecture, the place where Shinichi Nakamura, the man who managed the woman’s nursing care program, said he disposed of it.

Police are prepared to issue new warrants on the man on suspicion of murdering the woman and disposing of her body in an attempt to get his hands on her savings.

Nakamura was quoted as telling police that he strangled Ishikura at her home sometime between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on April 3. He then allegedly hid the body in another room and went to the branch office of a regional bank about 500 meters from the house by motorbike.

He withdrew about 750,000 yen using Ishikura’s bankbook at 3 p.m., just as the teller windows were about to close for the day, police said. Nakamura was quoted as telling investigators that he needed the money to pay off his debts.

In the early hours of April 5, the suspect took the body from the house and allegedly burned and buried it, police said.

Nakamura was arrested Friday on suspicion of fraud and had been questioned by investigators as to the woman’s whereabouts.

Ishikura’s bankbook was found in the office where Nakamura worked, showing an outstanding balance of about 30 million yen. Investigators said he had over 6 million yen in debts from excessive gambling and that a portion of it was due to be repaid soon.

Ishikura had been receiving assistance from care workers employed by Nakamura’s company since last summer, and the suspect visited her about once a month, police said.

The place where Ishikura’s body was found was about 100 meters from a nursing home where Nakamura used to work, and dental records and clothing showed that the body, which was wrapped in a thin blanket and partly skeletonized, was Ishikura’s, they said.

An autopsy conducted on the body revealed marks around the neck, and the cause of death was determined to be strangulation, according to police.

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