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Osaka: Police renew call for help in locating girl who went missing in ’04

Yuri Yoshikawa
Yuri Yoshikawa (Twitter)

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police are again seeking the help of the public in the search for a 9-year-old girl who went missing 15 years ago as she commuted home from school in the town of Kumatori, reports NHK (May 20).

The Izumisano Police Station believes Yuri Yoshikawa was possibly kidnapped at around 3 p.m. on May 20, 2003 on a street near her residence in Kumatori. There have been three eyewitness reports of a suspicious white Toyota Crown sedan stopped in the area around that time.

At around noon on Sunday, officers and Yoshikawa’s mother, 57, handed out leaflets with information on the case in and around Nankai Electric Railway’s Namba Station in Osaka City’s Chuo Ward.

Last year, police revealed that an eyewitness claims to have seen a girl seated in the vehicle with a man behind the wheel. Police suspect that girl is Yoshikawa. Investigators have come up with a list of 2,300 vehicles matching the description. Thus far, they have checked about 1,600 of them.

Police have also followed up on about 3,800 leads in the case. The National Police Agency is offering a reward of 3 million yen for the provision of information regarding the disappearance of Yoshikawa.

The parents of Yoshikawa are hopeful for the return of their daughter.

“I cannot understand how such a thing happened to Yuri,” said her father. “After a tremendous amount of time has passed, we are left wondering how she can come home, how to maintain a positive outlook when day and day the depression builds. Please think about what she has been going through over the past 15 years. And please let us know about any information, even if it is trivial.”

Persons with information on the case are advised to call the Izumisano Police Station at  072-464-1234.