• Kyodo


A 29-year-old male nursery teacher was arrested Sunday for allegedly abandoning the body of a Tokyo woman who had been missing since September in a resort town near the capital, police have said.

A body identified from fingerprints as that of Saori Tomizuka, 35, was discovered buried in a vacation home area in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, police said.

Yoshito Sato has admitted to breaking into the home of Tomizuka in Tokyo to steal money and strangling her when she resisted, investigative sources said, adding that the police expect to also serve him with an arrest warrant for murder.

“I used a shovel and buried her in the vacation home area,” Sato was quoted as telling the police, who transferred him to the custody of prosecutors Monday.

The woman, who worked for a major consumer finance company, and Sato lived around 600 meters apart, but the two are not believed to have known each other, according to the sources.

He was also quoted as saying he stole her door key after killing her, following its discovery at a separate location linked to the suspect.

The police began conducting a search around the Nasu area on Saturday after the suspect testified to burying her in a plot of land owned by his family.

Tomizuka called in sick with a cold on Sep. 24, and was declared missing after remaining absent without notice the next day.

A surveillance camera near Tomizuka’s home captured a man believed to be Sato following her between Sep. 23 and 24, the police said.

They said Sato then used a car for at least part of the journey to Nasu, while Tomizuka’s mobile phone was discovered near her home.

A man believed to be Sato was also seen carrying a bag from Tomizuka’s house, apparently to make it seem as if she disappeared on her own accord, according to the police, who began questioning him Saturday.

A surveillance camera also captured footage of Sato following a different woman after Tomizuka went missing, the sources said.

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