• Kyodo

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A 39-year-old Saga Prefecture man serving time for burglary has been served an arrest warrant in his prison cell for a slaying 13 years ago and faces questioning on two others.

Teruhiko Matsue, of Kitagata, is serving a two-year prison term. The arrest warrant is in connection with the January 1989 slaying of Tatsuyo Yoshino, 37, a local seamstress whose corpse was found along with the other two dead women at the base of a cliff in the mountains around Kitagata.

Matsue allegedly strangled Yoshino, with whom he was acquainted, on the night of Jan. 25, 1989, after he had telephoned her and invited her out. He then allegedly took her body in his car to the mountains.

The body of Sumiko Fujise, 48, a restaurant employee from the city of Takeo who disappeared in July 1987, was also found at the base of the cliff. If she had been slain right after her disappearance, as police suspect, the 15-year statute of limitations for her murder would expire next month.

The third body was identified as that of Kiyomi Nakajima, 50, also from Kitagata. She disappeared in December 1988.

Immediately after the victims’ bodies were found 13 years ago, police briefly interrogated Matsue, who surfaced as a suspect because of his links to Yoshino.

Although Matsue submitted a deposition indicating he may have had something to do with the deaths, police lacked material evidence or testimony to clearly link him to the murders. Matsue later reversed his position and denied involvement in the slayings, according to police.

In an interview with Kyodo News in 1989, Matsue said he was with friends on the night when Yoshino was believed to have been killed. He said he knew her but denied that they were intimate, and added that he did not know the other two women.

Matsue was arrested in November in Ebino, Miyazaki Prefecture, after being put on a wanted list for allegedly breaking into houses in neighboring Kagoshima Prefecture.

He was sentenced to two years in prison in March, at which time he was again questioned about the murder case, police said, adding that he remained almost silent during questioning.

Police did not elaborate on why they served Matsue with a warrant in connection with the 1989 slaying this time around.

Because all three victims were found in the same location, police theorized that the same perpetrator was involved.

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