• Kyodo


A woman in Fujisato, Akita Prefecture, suspected of killing a neighbor boy in May has told police she threw her daughter from a bridge into a river in April, where she drowned, investigative sources said.

Suzuka Hatakeyama, 33, told police that she felt her daughter was “annoying,” the sources said.

She is expected to be indicted Monday on a charge of murdering the boy, Goken Yoneyama, 7. The police then envision serving a fresh arrest warrant on her, possibly later Monday, for allegedly killing her 9 year-old daughter, Ayaka.

The sources said Hatakeyama’s description of Ayaka as “annoying” may support the suspicion that she was tired of taking care of her daughter and threw her from the bridge.

Some of Hatakeyama’s neighbors had told police and reporters that the woman rarely attended her daughter’s school events and did not prepare meals for her very often.

The police are still trying to resolve contradictions in Hatakeyama’s differing accounts of what happened. She is now saying she dropped her daughter into the river, although she had demanded that police further investigate the incident right after the girl was found drowned, the sources said.

After the girl’s death in April, Hatakeyama, expressing dissatisfaction with the police findings, handing out leaflets to her neighbors asking for tips.

“I just want to know what happened to Ayaka,” media quoted her as saying.

When interviewed by her lawyers after her arrest over Yoneyama’s death, Hatakeyama reportedly told them she thought the police would be driven to act if she snatched the boy.

Yoneyama’s body was found near the Yoneshiro River in Noshiro, about 2 km from where the girl’s body was found.

Hatakeyama was arrested June 4 and later indicted on suspicion of abandoning the boy’s body. She was served a second arrest warrant June 25 on suspicion of killing the boy.

Hatakeyama reported to police on the evening of April 9 that her daughter had gone missing after leaving home, saying she was going to visit a friend.

She later reversed her account, saying that she and her daughter went to Osawa Bridge on the Fujikoto River, some 2 km from their home, by car that evening, and that the girl accidentally fell into the river. She was quoted by investigative sources as saying she was “too upset” to call for help immediately.

The girl’s body was found in the Fujikoto River on April 10, about 4 km downstream from the bridge.

Her skull was fractured, which could have been caused by the fall from the bridge.

Hatakeyama’s accounts appear to run counter to the motives she had earlier told investigators were behind the death of Yoneyama, who lived one door away from her.

“Other kids are fine, but why isn’t Ayaka around? I felt my heart would rip open,” she was quoted as saying about how she had felt before the boy’s death.

“We can’t explain her accounts reasonably,” a senior investigator said. “Totally unfathomable.”

Investigators said they will carefully continue their investigation in an effort to resolve the inconsistencies in Hatakeyama’s accounts.

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