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Man suspected in murder of ex-girlfriend believed to have sent email from her phone

Nao Kato
The body of Nao Kato was found in the mountains of Izu City on August 27

TOKYO (TR) – A man suspected in the murder of his 26-year-old former girlfriend is believed to have sent an email from her phone in an attempt to delay detection of the crime, it was learned on Tuesday, reports Nippon News Network (Aug. 29).

On August 27, police found the body Nao Kato, a company employee who went missing earlier this month, in the mountains of Izu City. The week before, police had begun questioning her former boyfriend, 44, over her disappearance. However, he was later found to have killed himself at the home of his parents in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Kato lived with the her former boyfriend at an apartment in Tokyo’s Ota Ward. At 7:30 p.m. on August 19, she was seen at the residence with him in surveillance camera footage.

According to police, she responded to an email message sent at 7:35 a.m. the following day from a 32-year-old male acquaintance whom she was supposed to meet. “Things are a bit tight as to the schedule,” her response read. She was not heard from again. Given the awkward nature of the message, police believe that the former boyfriend wrote it using her telephone, an effort to feign that she was still alive.

Missing persons report

Two days later, Kato’s mother filed a missing persons report with the Denenchofu Police Station. An investigation was subsequently launched into her former boyfriend.

Police subsequently learned that he rented a vehicle on the morning of August 20. The following day, he purchased work clothes and a blue tarp at a home center in Izu. On August 22, a futon covered with soil was found inside the vehicle.

Based on eyewitness testimony and the tracked movements of the vehicle, police found her body in a forested area of Yugashima in Izu. Her former boyfriend is expected to be prosecuted on suspicion of murder and abandoning a corpse.

Verbal warning

Earlier in the month, Kato visited the same police station to report that her former boyfriend said, “He said he wouldn’t agree to breaking off [our relationship] by committing suicide.” Police then issued a verbal warning to the former boyfriend. However, Kato later returned to the station to report that the matter had been resolved.