• Kyodo


Three of the four people found dead Friday in Hakata Bay were handcuffed when they were discovered, police sources said Saturday.

Shinjiro Matsumoto, a 41-year-old clothing merchant, and his two children — 11-year-old son Kai and 8-year-old daughter Hina — were handcuffed, while his wife, Chika, 40, was attached to a weight when they were found, the sources said.

The Fukuoka police reported the same day that Matsumoto and Chika had drowned, but their organs contained little water and all four family members had strangulation marks on their necks, they said.

Blood stains were found in their home in Fukuoka and the sources said the police believe somebody raided the family’s home, strangled the four and then dumped them in the bay sometime between late Thursday and early Friday.

The police suspect that several people took part in the murders and are focusing their investigation on Matsumoto’s associates. Investigators believe Matsumoto was having financial problems, according to the sources.

Some 145 officers started questioning the Matsumotos’ neighbors on Saturday morning, while divers searched for evidence in the bay.

Police have heard from a neighbor that two people were seen parking a car in front of the Matsumotos’ house and then entering it around 4 a.m. Friday. Another neighbor reported hearing screams around dawn.

Chika’s father found the house unlocked and empty and the family’s car missing when he stopped by shortly after 6 a.m. Friday, according to the police.

Matsumoto was in the clothing retail business. He operated a Korean restaurant in Fukuoka’s Chuo Ward until it went bankrupt last year, they said.

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