• Kyodo

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A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murdering a girl whose body was found the previous day at a vacant store in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture, police said early Saturday.

The suspect, an acquaintance of the victim, Nao Shimizu, 13, was quoted as telling police, “I did it alone,” investigative sources said. His identity has been withheld because he is a minor.

The police believe Shimizu, who was in her second year at a local junior high school, had been strangled. She was found with a cloth around her neck. She also suffered head injuries.

The two had attended the same junior high school until the boy graduated at the end of March and went on to high school, according to the police.

He lives with his parents in a company dormitory several hundred meters from where the body was found, according to police. The dorm is provided

Shimizu and the suspect had known each other for a few years, and were members of a group of teens that often hung around together, sources said.

Investigators suspect some sort of trouble might have affected their relationship, leading to the slaying, the sources added.

According to an investigation, the boy allegedly struck Shimizu in the head several times with a blunt object on the third floor of the vacant building at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and then strangled her with the cloth.

He attended classes Thursday and Friday, the sources said. Police began questioning him on a voluntary basis Friday evening after checking through Shimizu’s friends and acquaintances.

A lawyer who met with the youth Saturday afternoon told reporters the boy is aware he had done a terrible thing.

The youth was quoted as saying they met at the vacant store after he telephoned her and arranged the meeting.

Shimizu’s school held an emergency meeting of parents Saturday to explain the tragedy.

The victim, who lived with her 40-year-old mother and 15-year-old brother, had missing since parting with her friends near a supermarket at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on her way home from school.

She called her mother around the time she left her friends. Her family filed a request with police Wednesday night to start a search when she did not come home.

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