• Kyodo


The 6-year-old boy whose body was found Monday inside a plastic bag floating in a canal here was seen by his grandmother on the morning of Aug. 7 bleeding from his mouth while lying on a futon at his parents’ apartment, police said Thursday.

Police on Tuesday arrested the mother, Tomoko Seta, and her husband, Takeshi, both 24, on suspicion of wrapping Kyoichi Seta’s body in tape, putting it in a black plastic bag and dumping it in the Kitabori canal in Amagasaki’s Ohama industrial zone.

Since their arrests, the couple have maintained they did not physically abuse Kyoichi and have denied any involvement in his death.

They reported the boy as missing to police on the night of Aug. 7.

The grandmother’s testimony, however, contradicts the couples’ account.

An investigation revealed that the couple purchased plastic bags and adhesive tape similar to those found with the body at a supermarket near their apartment, the sources said.

The police said earlier that small traces of blood residue were found in the couple’s apartment.

Police believe the boy had already died by Aug. 7 or died that morning as a result of beatings. His mother and stepfather then purchased the bags and the tape in order to dispose of his corpse, they said.

Police sent the case to prosecutors Thursday and began inspecting the canal where the body was found.

The boy had been dead for seven to 10 days when his body was found Monday, police said. An autopsy revealed that he died from a brain hemorrhage after being hit hard on the head.

When the grandmother came across the boy in the apartment on Aug. 7, she could not determine if he was dead or alive and told the couple to take him to a hospital, she reportedly told police.

The couple refused, saying they would be arrested, police quoted the grandmother as saying.

When the grandmother, whose daughter is the boy’s mother, returned to the apartment after receiving a call from the couple later in the evening, the boy was gone, police said.

The couple asked the grandmother to file a false missing person’s report, telling police the boy had not returned home after going to a nearby convenience store.

The parents then filed the missing person’s report, according to police.

The boy’s naked body was found stuffed into two black plastic bags, with the openings sealed at the midsection by adhesive tape.

The boy, a first grader at Dojo Elementary School in Kobe, had been living at a children’s institution in Kobe’s Kita Ward since March. He was moved there by child welfare authorities after they received reports he was being abused by his mother and stepfather.

After obtaining permission from the institution, the couple took him from the children’s home on Aug. 1, according to the police.

The stepfather has a 2-year-old boy from a previous marriage.

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