Police in Kitakyushu said Monday they have arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of fatally abusing his 4-year-son after he locked the boy inside a storage cabinet beneath a TV stand at their house.
According to police, the incident occurred early in the morning of May 11 at the house in Kokura Ward. Police said Shunta Notomi placed his son Yuto into the drawer beneath the TV in their second-floor bedroom, Fuji TV reported. When Notomi checked on the boy a few hours later, he wasn’t breathing. He called 119 at around 6:20 a.m. the next day.
Yuto was taken to hospital where he died due to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (lack of oxygen to the brain) about one hour later, according to doctors. The hospital notified police about a case of possible child abuse.
Meanwhile, local media reported Monday that Notomi’s wife Maiko, 24, who is Yuto's stepmother, in February had abused her then 2-year-old daughter by scalding her with a boiling liquid. Two days later, she took her daughter to a hospital and said the child had been careless with boiling water and sat on a kerosene heater. The hospital contacted a child welfare center and a worker visited the house but saw no signs of child abuse.
However, on Monday, police said Maiko has been arrested on suspicion of abusing her daughter. They believe that Notomi and his wife may have been regularly abusing their two children.
Police said that in total, eight family members live in the house.© Japan Today