• Kyodo

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A 35-year-old woman died after being stabbed in her apartment Tuesday, and investigators suspect her boyfriend — who had just been released from police custody after attacking her — was the culprit.

A pedestrian alerted police at around 7:25 a.m. after seeing a man lying on the ground and bleeding from the head in front of an apartment building in Kobe’s Hyogo Ward.

Hyogo Prefectural Police officers who rushed to the scene then found Yasuko Tsuda, a company worker who lives in a sixth-floor apartment, collapsed in the building’s lobby with a stab wound to her neck.

Tsuda died soon afterward due to massive bleeding, according to police.

The man, who was listed in a coma, was identified as Kenzo Maeda, 43, who has been living in Tsuda’s apartment since April, police said, adding that Maeda apparently jumped from the balcony of the sixth-floor flat .

Hyogo police had arrested Maeda on Saturday on suspicion he had injured Tsuda.

But Maeda was released Monday after promising investigators he would never again hurt Tsuda, police said.

Tsuda also asked police to show leniency toward Maeda, saying he was repentant, they said, adding that investigators continued to keep an eye on him.

Police found a kitchen knife near the spot where Maeda was found lying outside the apartment building.

They suspect he stabbed Tsuda in her apartment and then jumped from the veranda of the sixth-floor unit, according to investigation sources.

An 18-year-old boy who lives in a building across from the apartment said he heard a woman scream at around 7:20 a.m., spotted a woman and a man on a sixth-floor veranda, and saw the man fall off, according to police.

Police believe Tsuda, after being stabbed, made her way to the ground floor on her own and collapsed there, the sources said.

Maeda, who is unemployed, moved into Tsuda’s apartment in April, and police suspect he habitually behaved violently toward her, the sources said.

Other residents in the apartment building said they heard a woman’s screams coming from Tsuda’s apartment on several occasions.

Police said the violence escalated earlier this month, and Tsuda, who went to a nearby hospital for injuries inflicted by Maeda, filed a complaint with police Friday.

“Maeda had admitted to injuring (Tsuda) and was repentant of his actions. We released him on Tsuda’s pleas, and we see no procedural problem in our handling of the case,” a Hyogo police official said.

The building is in a residential area about 300 meters east of JR Hyogo Station.

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