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International

Japan police investigate possible serial killer in Tokyo suburb

19:05, Tuesday, 31 October, 2017
Japan police investigate possible serial killer in Tokyo suburb

Tokyo police have arrested a man after finding “multiple” dismembered bodies in coolers in his apartment in a city south-west of the capital, according to media reports.

The 27-year-old suspect, Takahiro Shiraishi, confessed to cutting up one body after killing the victim and hiding it in a cold storage case covered with cat litter, a police spokesman said on Tuesday. Shiraishi told police he did that to hide the evidence.

Police believe the bodies of eight women and one man were hidden in the apartment, national broadcaster NHK and other media said.

The severed heads of two victims were found in coolers in the apartment’s entryway, before police found the other seven while searching in the suspect’s apartment, local media reported.

Shiraishi was arrested on a charge that he dismembered one body and placed it inside a cooler, a charge that he was not contesting, according to a spokesman for Tokyo metropolitan police.

It was not immediately clear if the suspect had entered a plea or had legal representation.

Investigators found the bodies while searching for a 23-year-old woman who had disappeared last week, the police spokesman said. The missing woman is thought to be among the dead.

Police also reportedly found a toolbox and a saw that they said may have been used to dismember the bodies. Shiraishi told police that he dismembered the bodies in his bathroom, and put out some of the body parts as garbage, Kyodo News agency reported.Media reports cited the man’s neighbours as saying they had noticed foul smells near the apartment.

The missing woman had contacted the man via social media seeking someone for a suicide pact, and the two were captured by security cameras outside train stations near the suspect’s apartment, according to reports. Her brother had put in a request with the police for her search. The woman was seen on security camera footage walking with a man near the apartment, media reports said.

Although Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it has had some high-profile killings recently. In July last year, a 27-year-old former employee at a care home for disabled people killed 19 and injured more than 20 in a knife attack in what is believed to be the deadliest mass killing in Japan since the second world war. The man’s murder trial has not started yet.

Earlier this month, a man was arrested for killing his wife and five children after setting fire to their house. In 2015, a man killed five people, including relatives and neighbours, in a knifing spree in western Japan, and was later sentenced to death.

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