• Kyodo


Police on Saturday continued their hunt for the person who kidnapped a 6-month-old girl Friday, checking video monitors at the supermarket where she was found unharmed Friday evening.

Yuka Kurabayashi disappeared around 11:15 Friday morning after her 23-year-old mother, Keiko, left her in a child seat in her minivan in the parking lot of the Higashi-Matsuyama Shopping Square Silpia to go shopping. Yuka was gone when she returned five minutes later.

Keiko told police she left her baby because she did not want to wake her and did not lock the van because she planned to return quickly.

Seven hours later, Yuka was found inside a car parked at a Seiyu supermarket outlet near the shopping center when its owner returned from shopping.

Police said the female motorist, who arrived at the supermarket around 4:30 p.m., told a supermarket employee that she had discovered a baby in the back seat of her car shortly after 6 p.m.

Investigators, accompanied by Yuka’s mother, arrived at the scene and positively identified the missing tot. The baby was wearing the same clothes as when she went missing.

Police believe the kidnapper used a vehicle to transport the baby from the shopping center to the Seiyu store.

The motorist told police she locked all the doors of her vehicle when she left it to go shopping but left the windows slightly open for ventilation.

Police suspect Yuka’s kidnapper squeezed his or her hand through the opening to unlock the doors and put the baby inside.

Investigators are examining the vehicle to see if the kidnapper left any fingerprints or other objects that could lead to identification.

The shopping complex where the abduction occurred has 22 shops, including some that are open 24 hours. The parking lot has a capacity of about 180 vehicles and was quite full at the time of the incident, police said.

The parking lot has no gates and is not monitored by video cameras. Police are checking the video monitors inside the Seiyu store for evidence.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.