• Kyodo


Police arrested a 35-year-old man Friday for allegedly killing a 17-year-old high school girl in Hiroshima Prefecture in 2004, saying his DNA and fingerprints matched evidence found at the crime scene.

Manabu Kashima, a resident of Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, is suspected of stabbing Satomi Kitaguchi to death in her home in the city of Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, on Oct. 5, 2004. He has admitted to the charge, police said.

Kashima had been referred to prosecutors over a different assault case this week, Hiroshima police officials said, leading to his fingerprint and DNA data being flagged.

On the night of the murder, Kitaguchi’s grandmother and sister rushed to the entrance of the home upon hearing the teenager’s screams, where they found the suspect standing near the collapsed girl.

The sister was able to escape to a neighboring house, but the grandmother was stabbed repeatedly, including around the neck, and was briefly in critical condition.

Until the recent break in the case, police had been working with a composite sketch of the suspect based on descriptions given by the murdered teen’s sister. They also had clues about the suspect’s shoe type, based on footprints at the scene, and reports of a motorcycle passing the house around the time of the incident.

As no progress had been made in resolving the case, the National Police Agency put up a cash reward of ¥3 million and appealed to the public for information.

The victim’s father, 60-year-old Tadashi Kitaguchi, posted a comment to his blog on Friday saying, “I told her in my mind ‘the case was resolved,’ but I strongly feel sorry about not being able to protect her. I will probably keep feeling that way.”

He also told a news conference following the arrest that he wanted Kashima to “tell the truth in all sincerity.”

In the years since his daughter’s murder, he has worked hard to keep the case in the public consciousness, handing out flyers at shopping centers and starting a blog about the case.

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