SHIMANE (TR) – Shimane Prefectural Police last week arrested a 72-year-old man who was found with a woman who went missing nine months ago at his residence in Hamada City, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (May 4).
In July of last year, Kaoru Sasamoto allegedly kidnapped the woman, who was a girl aged 19 at the time. On May 4, police found the girl, also a resident of Hamada, at the residence after being contacted by a neighbor.
Police subsequently accused Sasamoto of kidnapping a minor. “My intention was not to kidnap her,” the suspect told police in denying the allegations.
According to police, the girl, who suffers from a slight mental disorder, failed to return home on July 14. Eight days later, she visited a Shinto music and dance performance at a shrine near her residence. At around 11:30 p.m. that night, her older brother called out to her but she did not acknowledge him and departed. The family lodged a missing persons report with police in September.
At around 6:15 p.m. on May 3, a neighbor contacted police, saying that they could hear a woman crying inside Sasamoto’s residence. Officers from a police box then visited the residence and found the victim, who is now 20. He was arrested the following morning.
According to TV Asahi (May 5), investigative sources have revealed that Sasamoto pretended that the girl was a member of his family. Last month, an officer following up on a report of noise coming from Sasamoto’s residence was turned away by the suspect.