• Kyodo


Police said they arrested seven people Sunday, including four teenagers, over the disappearance of a 28-year-old man in Oita Prefecture on Friday.

The suspects allegedly dragged the victim, Nobuyoshi Tokimatsu, from his apartment in the town of Hiji out into a nearby parking lot early Friday morning, beat him there with a baseball bat and then took him away in a car, police said.

Tokimatsu, a construction company employee, remains missing, and police are questioning the suspects as well as interviewing the victim’s 28-year-old girlfriend to try to locate him. Both Tokimatsu and his girlfriend were acquainted with some of the suspects.

Arrested are Takaaki Murakami, 27, and his wife, Midori, 24, Joji Morooka, 33, and four minors, aged 18 and 19, police said. They are charged with abduction, confinement and inflicting bodily injury, and have basically owned up to the charges, police added.

The girlfriend, from the city of Oita, is believed to have been with the suspects following the incident, police said. They had not been able to contact her since Friday morning, but they found her in Kokura-Minami Ward in Kitakyushu on Saturday.

The Murakamis and the teens live in the ward, while Morooka is a resident of Oita.

The suspects allegedly got into Tokimatsu’s apartment by breaking a window and brought him to the parking lot at around 4:30 a.m. Friday. They beat him with a baseball bat and then took him away in a car, police said.

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