• Kyodo

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Three corpses in various stages of decomposition were found Thursday in a condominium in Kitakyushu and Fukuoka Prefectural Police are saying they may have been abandoned for religious reasons.

Forensic analysis as of Friday showed the least decomposed body is of a woman who died of starvation about a month ago. The two other bodies are both nearly skeletonized and police would only say they are of a man and a woman who died at least several months before the woman who starved to death. The corpses had not been identified as of late Friday afternoon.

The body of the starved woman was found on top of a futon in the combined kitchen-living room and the remains of the other two were found inside bedding in separate rooms.

Police said neighbors frequently heard the sounds of drums and chanting coming from the apartment, suggesting people were participating in a religious rites.

Investigators found the condos after a condo resident alerted police that a woman who had been living there had not been seen for two to three months and a foul odor was coming from her unit.

The door was locked when officers arrived and there were no traces of the condo having been burgled, they said.

The three-bedroom condo was recently occupied by a woman who appeared to have been in her 80s and had a different name from the registered owner, police said. The owner’s whereabouts is unknown.

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