• Kyodo


A 54-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of killing her 19-year-old daughter in their apartment in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, has said three other bodies found there — two babies and a young boy — were also her children, police sources said Saturday.

Chizuko Okamoto was arrested May 3 after police found the bodies of her daughter, Rikako, and her 35-year-old stepson, Minehiro Yamauchi, in the apartment on May 1, and the bodies of a boy and two babies hidden in cardboard boxes the next day.

Okamoto told police the body of a boy is her son, Toshihide, whom she reported missing in 1984 when he was 6 years old.

She said the bodies of the babies, apparently newborns, were also her children.

Okamoto is suspected of strangling her daughter last Oct. 12.

They believe the man, Yamauchi, who is the son of Okamoto’s late common-law husband and another woman, had committed suicide.

Yamauchi was found hanging inside the apartment, while the daughter’s body was found inside a futon set.

The bodies of the children are very old, and the cause of their deaths has yet to be determined, according to the police.

Okamoto, her daughter and her step-son had been unemployed, the police said.

She had been living in the apartment until March. She had no fixed abode after that, the police said.

Yamauchi’s mother, 64, visited the apartment together with the landlord on May 1 and found the bodies of her son and Rikako Okamoto.

Okamoto told police that Yamauchi had been alive when she moved out of the apartment in March.

She emerged as the suspect in the death of her daughter after police found a note in the apartment that suggested she had killed her daughter.

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