OSAKA — An Osaka prison guard was arrested Saturday by prefectural police on suspicion of murdering his daughter-in-law and grandson in April, police said.

Takemitsu Mori, 45, a former Osaka Prefectural Police officer, is alleged to have strangled his daughter-in-law, Mayumi, 28, and drowned his 1-year-old grandson, Toma, in the bathtub, before setting fire to their apartment in Osaka’s Hirano Ward on the evening of April 14.

During voluntary questioning by police prior to his arrest, Mori categorically denied any involvement, saying he knows nothing about the incident.

In September, Mori, the stepfather of Mayumi’s 28-year-old husband, filed a suit requesting compensation from Osaka Prefecture, claiming he had been “coerced into confessing and was injured by violence and threats.”

The police said Mori had got into a dispute with the couple over money and other problems.

After he guaranteed a loan for the couple, Mori began to visit their home frequently from the end of last year, according to the police.

Mori also threatened Mayumi and demanded that she see him alone, the police said.

Police were told by Mayumi’s parents that Mori had sent antagonistic e-mail messages to their daughter around November last year, included the message “I will blame you my whole life.”

Police said they investigated the incident as a possible suicide, but concluded it was a murder and arson case because Mayumi had no reason to kill herself and the key to the apartment, which was locked during the fire, was not found inside the dwelling.

The police said Mori did not have an alibi and that a vehicle similar to his was seen near the scene of the crimes on the same day.

The police said they will search the Osaka prison, where Mori works, and his home, both in Sakai city in the prefecture.

“It is truly regrettable that a guard has been arrested over the alleged case,” Yoshitomo Wakabayashi, director of the Osaka prison’s general affairs section, said at a press conference Saturday.

“After hearing the results of the investigation, we will deal with the case strictly.”

According to prison officials, Mori was hired in 1987. He took a day off on April 14, the day Mayumi and Toma were killed.

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