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Saitama: Woman claimed ‘demons’ source of fatal abuse of child

Junko Kitazume
Junko Kitazume has been accused in the death of a 1-year-old girl six years ago (TV Asahi)

SAITAMA (TR) – A woman fatally abused her acquaintance’s baby girl six years ago in Maebashi City, Tochigi Prefecture because she claimed the child had “demons” inside, reports TV Asahi (Feb. 24).

Saitama Prefectural Police arrested Junko Kitazume, a 63-year-old resident of Maebashi, on February 23 on suspicion of inflicting injuries that killed 1-year-old Masumi Shirota at her apartment in May 2011.

Kitazume is denying the charges, police said.

The girl’s mother initially told police her daughter tripped, but recently told police that “Kitazume was routinely abusing my daughter by claiming she was performing exorcism.” Kitazume shook the girl’s body and shoved her fingers into her mouth, the mother said.

The girl’s father said he “ended up believing that something bad was stuck to our daughter.”

The girl was taken to a hospital on May 2 while her whole body was in a state of convulsion. She died four days later, the Mainichi Shimbun reported (Feb. 23).

Subdural hematoma

The mother told a doctor the girl “fell down the stairs a week ago, and nothing happened until she started convulsing.” She also told neighbors and police that she “hit her head on the ledge of our doorstep.”

An autopsy revealed the girl died from acute subdural hematoma in light of severe damage to her brain, possibly from a strong blow.

The girl was said to have been beaten every day following her birth since “the devil won’t come out of her body.”

A man who knew the woman told police that she “would pull the girl’s feet, slam her head against the floor, and claim ‘there was a devil’ as she thrust her fingers down her throat.”