OSAKA (Kyodo) A 23-year-old mother who was arrested Friday after the rotting corpses of her two toddlers were found at their apartment in the city of Osaka has told investigators that she wanted time for herself, police sources said Saturday.

“I thought about a week later they might be dead,” she was quoted as telling the investigators. “I didn’t feel like I should return home to save them,” she added.

Autopsies found that the children died around June after several days without food, although an exact cause of death could not be determined, according to the police.

Sanae Shimomura was arrested on the charge of abandoning the bodies of her 3-year-old daughter, Sakurako, and 1-year-old son, Kaede, in late June. She allegedly disappeared from home in late June, leaving her two children behind.

Shimomura, who had been moving between friends’ homes, only returned to her apartment Thursday and found her children’s corpses.

The police found the children’s bodies the following day, after a report by a male colleague of Shimomura who had been contacted by the apartment’s caretaker, the police said.

She had moved to the apartment in January, when she began working at a sex parlor. The apartment at which she lived with her children is used as a dormitory by the sex parlor, they said.

Shimomura moved from Mie Prefecture to Osaka Prefecture after marrying in December 2006, according to the police.

Shimomura’s 49-year-old father, meanwhile, said that he had not been in contact with his daughter nor met his grandchildren since her divorce in May last year.

The parents of Shimomura’s ex-husband lamented the death of their grandchildren.

“Sakurako was a smart and cheerful girl,” said the 47-year-old grandmother. She said that her granddaughter looked after her younger brother often, and when he spilled milk the girl would wipe his mouth clean, she said.

“Although I hate her now, I was thinking of her as my own daughter,” the former mother-in-law said about Shimomura.

The 49-year-old father of Shimomura’s ex-husband said, “I am really sad. . . . I couldn’t sleep last night.”

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