• Kyodo

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Police obtained an arrest warrant Tuesday for a 19-year-old male on suspicion of strangling a 20-year-old woman whose body was found the day before in a research laboratory at Tokuyama College of Technology in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Investigative sources said the suspect, who lives in Shunan, and the victim, identified as Ayumi Nakatani, were both students at the college. His whereabouts were not known as of Tuesday evening, police said.

According to the initial police investigation, Nakatani didn’t answer repeated cell phone calls from friends at around 11 a.m. Monday.

The friends also called out to her from outside the lab around the same time, but there was no response, police sources said, speculating she may have encountered her killer soon after she parted with them and headed for the lab at around 10 a.m.

Nakatani, a structural engineering major at the technical college, was found lying on the floor of the 16-sq.-meter lab on the third floor of the college with a cord around her neck.

Although the college is in summer recess, Nakatani, who helped on the college’s baseball team, and other students had gone to the school to study and to participate in club activities.

“She was a kind girl. This is unbelievable,” her father, Junichi, 48, told reporters Tuesday at his home in Hofu, Yamaguchi Prefecture. “She talked a lot about happenings at the school, and e-mailed my wife and me every day. We were very close.”

Nakatani arrived at the school with another female student at around 10 a.m. Monday and headed for the lab to work on her graduation project.

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