National / Crime & Legal

Man admits killing Kobe girl, his lawyer says

Kyodo

The man arrested on suspicion of killing a 6-year-old girl in Kobe has confessed to the crime, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Yasuhiro Kimino, an unemployed resident of the city who was arrested last month, had initially remained silent over the allegation that he murdered Mirei Ikuta, a first-grader at a local elementary school.

The lawyer, who visited Kimino on Monday evening, quoted him as saying he had admitted to the crime during questioning by Kobe prosecutors. His confession is believed to have been videotaped.

The lawyer said he did not hear details of the confession from Kimino but believes his client also admitted to the charge of abandoning the girl’s dismembered body.

The 47-year-old was arrested Sept. 24 for allegedly abandoning the girl’s remains after body parts were found near his home. Kimino was served a fresh arrest warrant on Oct. 14 on suspicion of murder.

Prosecutors and police are now looking into the motive behind the killing and whether there had been any previous contact between Kimino and the victim.

The police suspect he killed Mirei at or near his home on Sept. 11, the day she went missing after school, or in the days that followed.

Police have not determined how Mirei was killed. They believe Kimino dismembered her body using a kitchen knife at his home. The body parts were found Sept. 23 in plastic bags in a wooded area about 100 meters from her home.

The police say they have detected traces of her blood on a bathtub in Kimino’s home. They also claim to have found a knapsack believed to have belonged to the girl, in a drawer in his home.

On Sept. 16, about a week before he was first arrested, police officers visited Kimino at his home. He told them he did not know the girl.

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