• Kyodo

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Residents here expressed shock and anger at the news that a missing 6-year-old girl had been found dead, her body hacked to pieces.

Mirei Ikuta attended the local Nakura City Elementary School, where staff paid tribute.

“I am overcome by extreme grief,” said Masahiro Hirai, the headmaster. “It is so sad that I shall never see her again. I feel resentment that her irreplaceable life had to be taken.”

Hyogo Prefectural Police arrested 47-year-old Yasuhiro Kimino on Wednesday on charges of abandoning a corpse, a day after the girl’s body parts were found in a bush about 100 meters from her family’s home.

Police had gradually expanded their search in phases after Mirei was reported missing nearly two weeks earlier, but failed to find any clues as to her whereabouts. On Tuesday, a police patrol spotted the corpse in a bush — a location that had not been searched until then.

A hospital registration card was found with the corpse. It was that of Kimino, a local resident.

Experts said the crime may have not been premeditated.

Local residents said they were unaware of who was living in the apartment identified as Kimino’s, as there had been a high turnover of tenants in the building.

“I thought the apartment was vacant, so I had no idea what kind of person lived there,” said a man in his 60s who lives in the neighborhood. “I heard neither loud voices nor the voice of a girl.”

However, a 49-year-old part-time employee at a nearby newspaper delivery agency said he and other employees had seen Kimino wandering apparently aimlessly in front of their building, and had remarked to each other about him as looking “suspicious.”

A former high-ranking official of the Osaka Prefectural Police’s first investigative division said there was something peculiar as to how the corpse was abandoned: although the body was cut into several pieces and placed in individual plastic bags, the packages had all been left close to each other.

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