National / Crime & Legal

Teen held in death of 16-year-old buried in Saitama riverbed

Kyodo, Staff Report

A 16-year-old male was arrested in Saitama Prefecture on Thursday for his alleged involvement in the death of another teenager of the same age who was found naked and partially buried in a dry riverbed in the prefecture, police said.

The teen owned up to the charge, saying he killed Tsubasa Inoue because “he told lies and ignored phone calls and text messages,” the police said.

Inoue was found Tuesday morning in the Toki River in Higashimatsuyama, Saitama Prefecture, with his lower body and the left side of his upper body buried in gravel on the dry riverbed. An autopsy determined that Inoue drowned, they said.

Part of the river was submerged Monday as a typhoon passed over eastern Japan.

The teen was arrested after coming forward. His name is being withheld as he is a minor.

Investigative sources said another male believed to have been at the scene of the crime sent a text message on Line stating that he killed someone.

Two other boys who learned of the incident through the messaging app visited a police box in Saitama Prefecture to inform officers that their friend had said he killed someone.

The police have also found video footage showing what looks like a naked Inoue being forced to swim in the river.

Inoue’s body showed color changes and police are investigating whether they were caused by violence or because the body had come up against some kind of object that was being carried by the swollen river’s currents.

We are extremely shocked and deeply saddened to see our precious son caught up in such an incident,” the victim’s father, Yuji Inoue, said Wednesday in a statement.

Several killings involving teenagers have occurred in recent years.

In February 2015, a 13-year-old boy was killed with a box cutter after being forced to swim in a frigid Tamagawa River at night near Kawasaki because the perpetrator resented the victim’s popularity.

In December 2014, a 17-year-old male was killed at a riverside in Yokohama after being assaulted by three teenagers who graduated from the same junior high school with the victim. The four were playing a game that obliges the loser to drink alcohol.

In June 2013, a female 16-year-old high school student was killed after she and her friends had an argument on Line.

Seven people between the ages of 16 and 21 were arrested later for punching her to death in a car and abandoning her body in the mountains in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture.

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