Police continue hunt for missing Oita 2-year-old


Police on Wednesday expanded the scale and scope of their search for a 2-year-old girl feared kidnapped from her mother’s car in a supermarket parking lot in Oita Prefecture the previous day.

The 33-month-old disappeared in a matter of five minutes, the police said.

The 34-year-old mother and her daughter, whose names are being withheld for their protection, arrived at the Marushoku Kawasaki supermarket in the town of Hiji at around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The girl reportedly has problems with her legs and has difficulties walking, making it unlikely that she left the area by herself.

The mother left her daughter in the car with the engine and air conditioner running while she went inside the supermarket. By the time she returned five minutes later, the girl had disappeared, the police said.

On Wednesday, Oita police deployed 130 officers to search near the supermarket and surrounding areas.

The supermarket is located in a quiet neighborhood in Hiji, a town facing Beppu Bay and close to the renowned Beppu hot spring.