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Tokyo man suspected in killing of ex-girlfriend commits suicide

Nao Kato
The body of Nao Kato was found in the mountains of Izu City on August 27 (TV Asahi)

TOKYO (TR) – Investigative sources with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police revealed on Monday that a man undergoing questioning over the disappearance of his 26-year-old former girlfriend, who was later found dead, has committed suicide, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Aug. 29).

On August 24, police began questioning the man, 44, over the disappearance of Nao Kato, a company employee who went missing earlier in August. However, he was found to have killed himself at the home of his parents in Hiroshima Prefecture the following day, according to the sources.

Based on eyewitness testimony and the tracked movements of the vehicle of the man, police found the body of Kato in the mountains of Yugashima in Izu City on Sunday. The man is expected to be prosecuted on suspicion of murder and abandoning a corpse.

Missing on August 20

Kato lived with the man at an apartment in Tokyo’s Ota Ward. At 7:30 p.m. on August 19, she was seen at the residence with the man in surveillance camera footage. The following day, she responded to an email message sent from a 32-year-old male acquaintance at 7:35 a.m. However, she did not respond to a subsequent message sent at 9:40 a.m.

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

According to Jiji Press (Aug. 29), 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.

Threatened suicide

On August 10, Kato visited the same police station to report that the man said, “He said he wouldn’t agree to breaking off [our relationship] by committing suicide.” Police then issued a verbal warning to the man.

However, Kato later returned to the station to report that she would again be associating with the man. “You need not bother with this matter,” she said.

A representative of the police did not find fault with the investigation. “Since the questioning was to confirm the location of the victim, there was no problem with the investigation,” the representative said.