• Kyodo


Prosecutors have indicted a man for allegedly killing a junior high school boy in Osaka Prefecture in August, about two months after he was indicted for murdering a girl who was friends with the boy.

According to the prosecutors, Koji Yamada, 45, has remained silent over the deaths of 12-year-old Ryoto Hoshino and 13-year-old Natsumi Hirata, who attended the same junior high school in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture.

The indictment, filed Tuesday. effectively marks the end of the investigation as Yamada is unlikely to face further charges for dumping the bodies of the two children as prosecutors have been unable to specify when and where they were killed, according to sources close to the matter.

The case will be handled in a lay judge trial.

Investigators have reportedly found traces of sleeping pills in the victims’ bodies, raising the possibility their killer used the drugs to keep them quiet.

The two were last seen alive, via security camera footage, loitering together for hours early Aug. 13 on the premises of a shopping arcade in Neyagawa. They are believed to have been abducted together near Neyagawashi Station that day.

Yamada was arrested Aug. 21 on suspicion of dumping Hirata’s body, which was found in a parking lot in Takatsuki, near Neyagawa, on the night of Aug. 13. He was served with another arrest warrant Sept. 12 for allegedly choking the girl to death and then subsequently arrested for allegedly killing Hoshino.

Although failing to determining the cause of Hoshino’s death through autopsies, the prosecutors have ruled out the possibility that he committed suicide or died of disease.

While finding no direct evidence to prove Yamada’s involvement in the boy’s death, the prosecutors say he had bought the same adhesive tape that was attached to Hoshino’s body and concluded that no other person could have been involved.

Yamada has remained silent, other than saying shortly after he was arrested that he “brought into a car a girl I met and a passenger assaulted her and abandoned her body.” He also said “a boy was with her.”

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