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Details emerge about killing of girl, 17, before fire started in residence

Mai Sato
The body of Mai Sato, 17, was found in her residence on May 4
0010982991000.html”>NHK (May 15).

According to the sources, the results of an autopsy revealed that the lungs of Mai Sato, 17, were found to contain water, an indication that she was drowned. An exact cause of death, however, was not determined.

At 8:30 a.m. on May 4, police found the body of Sato inside her burned-out residence, located in the Ueno Sakuragi area of Taito Ward. On May 13, officers from the Shitaya Police Station arrested her boyfriend, 18, on charges of murder. He was sent prosecutors on Monday.

According to police, the suspect assaulted Sato, a third-year high school student, in the residence on May 3 and 4 while her parents were away for a holiday. After setting the building on fire, he alerted emergency services about the blaze.

The sources have also revealed that the body of the victim showed no signs of smoke inhalation and her back did not suffer burns, both signs that she was likely dead before the fire started, according to Nippon News Network (May 15). As well, water was found in the bathtub of the residence, which could have been used to drown the victim.

An examination of security camera footage taken in the area of the residence showed the suspect and victim arriving together at around 8:30 p.m. on May 3. He is seen again in footage early on May 4.

During questioning, the suspect, who was a classmate of the victim, admitted to the charges. “I strangled her with my hands, and I set [the building] on fire,” he told police. However, he is now declining to comment about the incident.

The boy suffered from smoke inhalation in the incident. After being released from the hospital, police began interviewing him about the case.

The suspect initially told police that he tried to save Sato after the fire broke out. However, he gradually admitted involvement in the crime as questioning continued.