Jiji PressNIIGATA (Jiji Press) — The Niigata prefectural police have arrested a man over the death of a 7-year-old girl whose body was hit by a train in Niigata last week.
Haruka Kobayashi, 23, was arrested on Monday on suspicion of abandoning and damaging the body of the victim, Tamaki Omomo. He lived near the home of the elementary school second-grader.
During police questioning, the man admitted his involvement in murdering the girl, investigative sources said. The police are now looking into his motive. The police sent the suspect to prosecutors on Tuesday.
According to the arrest warrant, Kobayashi is suspected of leaving the body of the girl on a railway track in the city between 10:19 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on May 7 so that a train would hit it.
He is believed to have waited until dark and chosen a low-traffic area to leave the girl’s body, the sources said.
Kobayashi, an electrical worker, was absent from work that day, according to the sources.
Around 10:30 p.m. that day, the driver of a train noticed the girl lying on the track and hit the brake, but could not stop the train in time.
The police suspect that she was killed elsewhere and that her body was left on the track, as an autopsy has found that the cause of her death was suffocation.
The girl disappeared on her way home from school. She left school with her friends shortly past 3 p.m. that day and went missing after parting with them.
The condition of her body suggests that the girl was killed soon after being abducted, the sources said.
The location where her body was found was less than 200 meters from her home and within 100 meters of the suspect’s. The girl and the man apparently did not know each other.
Before his arrest, the police persuaded Kobayashi to submit himself for voluntary questioning on Monday morning after being found in a parking space at a local Michi no Eki roadside rest area with shops.
“I feel a little relieved,” Yutaka Hasegawa, the principal of the elementary school the girl attended, said in a statement after the suspect’s arrest. “I’ll do my best to restore our normal lives with our children as soon as possible.”
A 41-year-old man who came to the school with his fourth-grade son said, “Our community will hopefully work as one to devise crime prevention measures.”
“I hope this kind of incident will never happen again,” the man added.
The father of a boy in second grade at the school said it is “good for now” that the suspect was arrested.
The man, in his 40s, said he will continue accompanying his son to school for the time being, as he got information about a suspicious individual in the community through email only on Monday.