• Kyodo


A man arrested Tuesday on suspicion of abducting and murdering a 7-year-old girl in 2005 told investigators he killed her because she started making a noise, sources said Wednesday.

Yuki Yoshida, a first grader in the city of Imaichi in Tochigi Prefecture, now part of Nikko city, went missing on her way home from school on Dec. 1, 2005. Her body was found the next day in a forest about 60 km away in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture.

Sources close to the investigation say Takuya Katsumata, 32, admitted kidnapping Yuki and taking her to his home in the city of Kanuma, Tochigi. He then stabbed the girl and abandoned her body.

At least 10 stab wounds were identified and the girl died from blood loss, the sources said.

Katsumata emerged as a suspect several months later, but police investigators had difficulty gathering sufficient evidence.

They obtained security camera footage in Imaichi showing a white car heading for Ibaraki that resembled one seen near where Yuki went missing. Katsumata owned a similar model, but had already disposed of the car by the time the investigation began to focus on him.

Police arrested Katsumata in January of this year for possession of fake branded goods which he had intended to sell, and he confessed to the murder during questioning, the sources said.

Investigators discovered an image on his computer of a girl resembling Yuki. They served a fresh arrest warrant on Tuesday, detaining Katsumata on suspicion of murder.