• Kyodo


A third man was arrested Monday in connection with the death of a 19-year-old Sapporo woman two days after her severed head was found in a mountainous area in Hokkaido.

Kazuo Shibata, 47, was arrested on suspicion of abandoning the body of Yuri Miyoshi in the city of Iwamizawa in mid-December, following the Saturday arrests of Tomonori Jin, 31, and Kotaku Hasegawa, 31, on the same charge.

Shibata turned himself in on Sunday night. Jin and Hasegawa were handed to prosecutors on Monday.

The police said that Miyoshi frequented a bar Jin ran in Sapporo’s Susukino entertainment district, and that Jin apparently admitted they were acquaintances.

Miyoshi was last seen in Susukino around Dec. 15. Her family reported her missing on Dec. 21.

The police found her head after questioning Jin and Hasegawa, and a DNA test confirmed it to be hers.

The Hokkaido Prefectural Police believe Shibata knew the other two suspects and that the three conspired to abandon her body.

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.

Her mobile phone and other belongings have not been found. The police suspect the three men might have switched off her phone or discarded it to prevent her body from being located.

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