Police on Friday revealed that a symbolic Jizo Buddhist statue was found near a house in which a family of four was murdered in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward in December 2000, 100 days after the killings.

Mikio Miyazawa, 44, his 41-year-old wife, Yasuko, their daughter, Niina, 8, and son, Rei, 6, were found murdered at their home on Dec. 31, 2000.

The statue was found on the side of a road running alongside a river at the back of the house on the morning of April 9, 2001.

Investigators said they believe someone left it there that morning or the previous evening and that the person might know something about the murders.

Jizo Bodhisattva, a Buddhist enlightened being, is popularly regarded as the guardian of unborn, aborted or stillborn babies and of children who die prematurely. He is usually depicted as a child monk.

The statue is 59 cm tall and weighs about 20 kg. It has a mark on it that looks like the Chinese character meaning "six."

Police have printed 30,000 posters featuring a photo of the statue in the hope that members of the public will come forward with information. The posters also note that the killer of the family ate ice cream, used a personal computer and did other odd things at the murder scene. Investigators have thus far shown to the public a sweat shirt, a jacket and other items left in the house. They are also trying to find a match for a fingerprint found at the scene.