OSAKA (TR) – A couple allegedly hid the body of their malnourished son who died in April in an ice chest in their car because they were afraid of getting arrested for abuse, police said on Wednesday.
Osaka Prefectural Police arrested Rena Suzuki, 24, and husband Yuta Oshima, 22, on Tuesday for allegedly hiding their 1-year-old son Ryusei’s body in their car in a parking lot the same day between 7:30 p.m. and midnight in Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka, the Asahi Shimbun reports (Nov. 23).
Police said the couple, both of whom have been charged with abandoning a corpse, has admitted to the charges, quoting Oshima as saying he “kept it hidden because I couldn’t say that we left our child in the car.”
Suzuki was quoted as saying Ryusei “was dead when we came back to the car after we left him in there in April. I thought the police would suspect abuse and arrest us, so I packed his body into the ice chest the same day.”
An autopsy revealed that Ryusei died at least two months ago, consistent with the couple saying he died in April, and no signs of injuries were found on his body.
Ryusei’s chest muscles were poorly developed, the fat content of his stomach was low, and the cause of death was likely malnutrition, the autopsy showed.
The couple also has a 3-year-old daughter who was unharmed, police said.
‘Bruise of unknown origin’
The couple moved to Osaka City from Wakayama Prefecture in August, police said.
Ryusei’s body was found after the child consultation center in Osaka City launched an investigation into a report from the daughter’s kindergarten on November 9 that she had a “bruise of unknown origin.”
The investigation revealed that the couple’s daughter had received her check-up for 3-year-olds, but Ryusei had yet to receive his check-up for 1.5-year-olds, the Sankei Shimbun reported.
A worker from the center visited the couple’s home on Friday to check on Ryusei, but was told by Suzuki that he was “staying with my parents.”
But Suzuki’s mother said she hadn’t seen Ryusei since March, Mainichi Broadcasting System reported.
‘Our son is with a friend’
The center requested for the couple to visit on Monday, but became suspicious after Suzuki said over the phone that they “can’t go because of work, and our son is with a friend.”
The consultation center consulted police on Tuesday after they lost contact with the couple.
A prefectural police investigator spotted Suzuki’s car in a parking lot in Sumiyoshi Ward at around 7:30 p.m. the same day on Tuesday, and questioned the couple who were at a nearby business hotel.
The couple’s explanation led the investigator to Ryusei’s body, which was wrapped in a towel and wearing paper diapers, a white t-shirt and a pair of shorts.