• Kyodo

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A young couple from Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, were arrested early Thursday on suspicion of abandoning the body of the woman’s 1-year-old child, prefectural police said.

The arrest of Mika Tamiya, 21, and her husband Motoki, 21, comes just a day after police identified the boy as Yu Minematsu, whose body was found in April in the gutter of a road in Nose, Osaka Prefecture, police said. Mika, who had the child in a previous marriage, was identified as the mother via DNA analysis.

Police said the couple surfaced as suspects after a child care center in Osaka told them it had gotten a call in January from a woman with the same name as the arrested mother.

“I can’t raise (my boy) anymore. Isn’t there anything like a baby hatch?” the center quoted her as saying.

The couple have owned up to the charge and told investigators the boy died after they left him in the helmet compartment of a motorcycle while playing pachinko for hours at a parlor near the end of January, the police said.

The two told the police they “put the boy in the motorcycle helmet compartment because two people can’t ride while holding a child.”

After Motoki returned to the motorcycle and found the boy dead, they bought plastic bags at a discount store, returned home and put the boy in one of the bags, the couple was quoted as saying.

Later, the couple took the body to Nose, a small town surrounded by mountains, and dumped it on the side of a road, the police said. A passerby who found the body alerted police on April 23.

The body was naked and its head was in a blue plastic bag, the police said. There were no external injuries.

But the couple’s accounts differ on the date of the dumping, police said. Motoki said they did it Feb. 2, but Mika said it was Jan. 31.

In addition, an autopsy has found Yu likely died in mid-April.

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