by MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press
People gather in front of the apartment where police found dismembered bodies in coolers in Zama city, southwest of Tokyo, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. A police spokesman said Tuesday the 27-year-old suspect confessed to cutting up the bodies and hiding them in cold-storage cases, covered with cat litter. (Kyodo News via AP)
Tokyo police have arrested a man after finding “multiple” dismembered bodies in coolers in his apartment in a city southwest of the capital.
The 27-year-old suspect, Takahiro Shiraishi, confessed to cutting up the bodies after killing the victims and hiding them in cold-storage cases covered with cat litter, a police spokesman said Tuesday. Shiraishi said he did that to hide the evidence, police said.
Investigators found the bodies while searching for a 23-year-old woman who had disappeared last week, the spokesman said. He did not give his name, in line with police policy.
Police believe the bodies of nine people — eight women and one man — were hidden in the apartment, national broadcaster NHK and other media said. The missing woman is thought to be one of them.
Police first found the severed heads of two victims in coolers in the apartment’s entryway, then found the other seven while searching in the suspect’s apartment, local media reported.
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 neighbors 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 of train stations near the suspect’s apartment, according to reports. Her brother had put in a request with the police for her search.
Although Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, it has seen some high-profile killings recently.
In July last year, a 27-year-old former employee at a care home for the disabled killed 19 and injured more than 20 in a knife attack in what is believed to be the deadliest mbad killing in postwar Japan. 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 neighbors, in a knifing spree in western Japan, and was later sentenced to death.