• Kyodo

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Kyoto police on Wednesday turned over to prosecutors a man suspected of murdering a woman he got to know through e-mail exchanges.

Police suspect that Hiroaki Nishijima, 25, a part-time worker and Kyoto resident, murdered Miki Iwabuchi, a 19-year-old student at Kyoto Women’s University, by drowning her in a bath tub or similar vessel.

They said the large amount of water in the victim’s stomach was different to the water of the river in which she was found.

Nishijima is also suspected of murdering another woman, Misako Miyauchi, who died in similar circumstances and whose body was also found in a Kyoto river earlier this month.

According to police investigations, Iwabuchi — from Kitami in Hokkaido — was last seen by a friend with whom she had dinner in Kyoto on April 8.

Iwabuchi told her friend that she was meeting an e-mail acquaintance.

Her body was found the following day in Uji River in the town of Ujitawara, Kyoto Prefecture, with a fractured hip bone.

Her coat, bag, mobile phone and other belongings were missing.

On Wednesday, police discovered that Iwabuchi’s bag had been taken to a pawnshop and are investigating the link with Miyauchi, whose bag was also taken to a pawnshop.

According to the police, Nishijima showed identification documents stating his name and address at the two pawnshops to receive cash in return for the bags.

Miyauchi, 28, disappeared after leaving home on May 5, telling her family she was meeting an e-mail friend.

Her body was found in another river in Ayabe, also in Kyoto Prefecture, three days later.

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