• Kyodo


A 53-year-old Saga Prefecture construction worker has admitted running into an 11-year-old boy with his truck Saturday, then spiriting away the seriously injured child to a secluded forest area and dumping him by a trail, police sources said Thursday.

Sanoji Sakaguchi, from Karatsu, is being grilled in connection with the apparent hit-and-dump-and-run, and faces at present specific charges of attempted murder, negligence resulting in injury, failure to seek necessary care and violating the Road Traffic Law, the sources said.

Sakaguchi, who was arrested Wednesday, has told investigators that he left fifth-grader Tsuyoshi Iehara in the forest after moving him 2 km from the intersection where he struck the victim Saturday afternoon as the child rode his bicycle, the sources said.

An officer questioned Sakaguchi on Sunday afternoon when he found him near a damaged truck parked on a street that was later found to have been the vehicle that hit the boy. But he escaped while the officer left the scene temporarily to seek assistance.

Police said they arrested Sakaguchi on Wednesday night after his employer notified them that he was seen standing by a cigarette machine.

The suspect was found in the employer’s car parked in Karatsu when police rushed to the spot, they said.

Sakaguchi was clad in muddy work clothes, indicating he had been hiding in the nearby mountains, police said, adding that he had less than 200 yen on him at the time of arrest.

After Iehara disappeared Saturday, his bicycle, bloodstains and vehicle skid marks were found on a road in Karatsu. The child was found with a fractured skull in the forest early Sunday morning about eight hours after being struck.

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