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Shizuoka: Pair not prosecuted for murder in death of nurse

SHIZUOKA (TR) – Prosecutors have announced the non-prosecution of two men for murder in connection with the death of woman whose body was found in a forest in Fujieda City earlier this year, reports NHK (Sept. 26).

Police had previously arrested Mitsuru Suzuki, 43, and Motoki Ito, 28, on suspicion of abducting Mayuko Uchiyama, a 29-year-old nurse from Hamamatsu City. On June 9, a search team looking for Uchiyama found the body later confirmed to belong to her along a mountain road in the Setonoya area of Fujieda.

Whether police determined the cause of death has not been revealed.

On Wednesday, prosecutors at the Shizuoka District Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the non-prosecution of Suzuki and Ito. No reason was given. However, sources close to the case told NHK that Suzuki denied the allegations. Meanwhile, Ito remained silent.

Uchiyama went missing on May 26. Three days later, her family lodged a missing persons report with police. An examination of security camera footage showed her being abducted into her own vehicle by several men at a parking lot of a gym in Hamamatsu on the night of May 26.

Mitsuru Suzuki (left) and Motoki Ito
Mitsuru Suzuki (left) and Motoki Ito

During questioning, Suzuki and Ito said that they were not acquainted with the victim or one another prior to the crime. The defendants said that they responded to a message about a money-making opportunity posted on a yami (underground) site.

According to police, Toyofumi Akutagawa, a 39-year-old native of Niigata Prefecture, was the mastermind behind the crime. In June, police said that Akutagawa was found dead inside a hotel in Niigata City, Niigata. Though the cause of death was not revealed, police said at the time that the case was being ruled as a suicide.

Suzuki and Ito were first arrested and sent to prosecutors for confinement and abandoning a corpse. They were prosecuted for both of those charges.