Police in Kobe said Friday they have found a rucksack belonging to Mirei Ikuta, 6, in the apartment of the man being held on suspicion of abandoning her dismembered body.
The suspect, Yasuhiro Kimino, 47, was arrested on Wednesday after six bags containing body parts belonging to Ikuta were found in a wooded area near his apartment in Nagata Ward.
Kimino, a former Ground Self-Defense Force member and who is currently unemployed, has refused to answer questions about Ikuta, police said. Kimino's lawyer, who spoke with him on Thursday night, told reporters Friday that his client is tired and is talking with police but will not say anything about his involvement in the murder, Sankei Shimbun reported.
The girl's rucksack was found after an extensive search of Kimino's apartment on Friday.
Meanwhile, police said more body parts, believed to belong to Ikuta, were also found Friday in the same wooded area and are intensifying their search for the weapon used to cut up the body.
No bloodstains have been found in either Kimino's apartment or the spot where the six bags of body parts were found on the afternoon of Sept 23.
Police are still trying to determine Ikuta's exact movements on the day she disappeared. She left school at around 2:45 p.m. on Sept 11 and visited her grandmother, who lives nearby, and left her school bag there. She was next seen on surveillance camera footage outside a convenience store at 3:15 p.m. Kimino was also seen in the camera footage, drinking what appears to be a can of beer as he walks a short distance behind the girl.
Ikuta is believed to have returned home, picked up her rucksack and then left for a friend's house. Police said surveillance camera footage has also shown Kimino lurking outside the friend's apartment.
After that, little is known about Ikuta's movements. She was last seen at around 5:30 p.m. walking past the athletic grounds of a high school, some 700 meters away from her home.
Media have reported that Kimino may have lured Ikuta to his apartment by using cats. A resident in the same apartment building, who has a number of cats, said Ikuta came to play with the cats on at least three occasions during the summer. The apartment building is about 150 meters from her home.
Police initially visited Kimino on Sept 16 and asked to search his apartment, but found nothing linking him to Ikuta. Asked about the surveillance camera footage, he told police he was drunk and couldn’t remember even seeing Ikuta walking ahead of him.
Just before dawn on Wednesday Sept 24 -- the day after the body parts were found -- a police patrol spotted Kimino in the wooded area and took him in for questioning. He was arrested on a charge of abandoning a body after his hospital registration card and cigarette butts were found in one of the bags with the body parts. DNA on the butts matched that of Kimino.© Japan Today