Jiji Press ABIKO, Chiba (Jiji Press) — Police arrested a man on Friday on suspicion of abandoning the body of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl who was found dead in Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, last month.
The suspect, Yasumasa Shibuya, 46, is a neighbor of the third-grader at a municipal elementary school in Matsudo, also in the prefecture. He served as head of the parents’ association at the same school, local residents said.
The Chiba prefectural police believes he is highly likely to have kidnapped and killed her.
The girl, Le Thi Nhat Linh, went missing after she left home in Matsudo around 8 a.m. on March 24 to attend a ceremony to mark the end of the school year.
She was found dead on March 26 near a drainage ditch in Abiko about 10 kilometers away from home.
There were no clothes on her body when it was found, and signs of strangulation were seen on the neck. An autopsy found that she might have suffocated.
Her belongings, such as a school bag, were found near a river in Bando in the neighboring prefecture of Ibaraki, about 25 kilometers from her home.
Shibuya lives in an apartment only 300 meters from the victim’s home. Two children of Shibuya attend the same school as the victim.
Speaking with Jiji Press over the telephone, the girl’s father, who is visiting Vietnam, said Japanese police reported the arrest to him Friday morning, adding that he does not know what to say.
Neighbors of Shibuya expressed surprise. “I can’t believe the man [was arrested],” one of them said.
The police identified the suspect among those who are familiar with the area where the girl’s house is located.
The police analyzed DNA samples found on her belongings and scrutinized footage of security cameras installed near her home and on nearby major roads, as well as images captured by automotive event data recorders.Speech