• Kyodo


A 79-year-old man who set up an electric fence that left two picnickers dead last month in Nishi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, has committed suicide, local police said Friday.

He apparently hanged himself in the yard of his house Friday morning, the police said. His wife found his body but there was no suicide note, they said.

Since the July 19 accident, investigators had occasionally interviewed the man, paying attention to his health because of his age, the police said. The last interview was on Thursday, but he seemed the same as usual, they said.

Masatomo Ozaki, 42, his son, Raiku, 8, and Raiku’s friend, Kaio Iwamura, also 8, were playing in a river in the town when they suddenly started screaming and fell down.

Four others who entered the river to help them were also electrocuted. Ozaki and Tomohiro Iwamura, 47, died, while the others sustained injuries.

A probe into the case later discovered that the man had assembled the fence parts and erected it by himself, and the home-made device carried a constant charge rather than the brief pulses typical of livestock fences.

The fence had been plugged into a 100-volt mains socket and also connected to a 440-volt transformer, leading investigators to suspect the man had been putting a higher voltage down the cable.

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