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Osaka police arrest man in death of girl; classmate’s body found

Koji Yamada
Koji Yamada

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday arrested a 45-year-old male in the death of a girl whose body was found dumped in a parking lot earlier this month after she had gone missing. Police also found the body of a boy she was with at the time of her disappearance, reports Nikkan Sports (Aug. 22).

Police have accused Koji Yamada of abandoning the body of Natsumi Hirata, a 13-year-old junior high school student from Neyagawa. She was last seen at her home on the evening of August 12.

Police also discovered the body of Ryoto Hoshino, a 12-year-old classmate of Hirata, in a forest in Kashiwara City. The boy had told his mother that he was going to meet Hirata on the same day she was last seen.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on August 13, a male employee getting off work found the body of Hirata, whose arms had been bound behind her back with tape, next to a truck in a parking lot for a distribution company in Takatsuki City. Her head was also wrapped in tape.

Hirata’s body was clothed in a black tank top, white shirt and denim shorts, but it did not have shoes. Her mobile phone was also missing. Police observed approximately 30 wounds possibly due to a knife throughout the left side of her body.

Police had observed at least one suspicious vehicle entering the parking lot in surveillance camera footage taken on the day of the discovery of Hirata’s body.

Investigators believe that Yamada knows what happened to both of the children.

In previous reports, police said that Hirata had died from asphyxiation. The time of death is believed to been about four hours before her body was found.