The severed head of a missing Sapporo woman has been found and two men are being held in connection with the case, the Hokkaido Prefectural Police said on Saturday.

Tomonori Jin, 31, and Kotaku Hasegawa, 31, are suspected of abandoning the body of 19-year-old Yuri Miyoshi in a mountainous part of Iwamizawa, east of Sapporo, around Dec. 15.

The police said that Miyoshi frequently visited a bar Jin ran in Sapporo's Susukino entertainment district and that Jin apparently admitted he and Miyoshi were acquaintances. She was last seen in Susukino around Dec. 15. Her family reported her missing on Dec. 21.

"She greeted me cheerfully. She was a cute girl, so I am shocked that she was involved in this case," said an 80-year-old woman who lives near Miyoshi's home.

According to investigative sources, one of the suspects said he took her to a forest in the mountains.

The police set up a special team of 100 officers to handle the case Saturday while they searched the site on Sunday. The search turned up hair believed to be Miyoshi's. Since there are no noticeable blood stains at the site, the police think the men used a car to take her body there.

The police found her head after questioning the two men, and a DNA test confirmed it to be Miyoshi's.