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Tokyo cops: Teen accused of murder started blaze at residence with lighter

Mai Sato
An 18-year-old boy has been accused of killing his girlfriend, Mai Sato, 17, earlier this month (TV Asahi)

TOKYO (TR) – Investigative sources with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have revealed that a teenage boy suspected in the killing of his girlfriend at her residence earlier this month used a lighter to later set her residence on fire, reports TV Asahi (May 18).

According to the sources, the boy, 18, used a lighter to ignite a futon in the residence of Mai Sato, 17, after he killed her. The suspect previously admitted to strangling the victim to death. However, police believe he drowned her in a bathtub after finding water in her lungs.

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 the boy on charges of murder. He was sent prosecutors on Monday.

According to a previous report, 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 latest information from police indicates that the suspect initially planned to make the fire look like an accident, possibly the result of a gas leak. However, he later admitted to setting the bedding ablaze himself. Police are now attempting to retrieve fingerprints from several lighters found at the residence.