Okinawan man arrested for murder of girl in Fukuoka

Fukuoka Prefectural police arrested an Okinawa-born construction worker in Fukuoka on suspicion of killing a 10-year-old girl, and then hiding her body in a closet in his house in Busen City, Fukuoka.

According to Fukuoka Prefectural Police, 10-year-old elementary school girl Miwa Ishibashi went missing on Saturday.  Police arrested 46-year-old construction worker Toshiyuki Uchima from Okinawa on Sunday, Feb. 1st, on suspicion of abandoning a body.

The legal autopsy showed the girl died from choking around noon on Saturday. Uchima has told investigators he “choked her neck and killed her. After that, I hid her.”  Fukuoka Police investigating the killing is expected to upgrade the charges to murder.

The girl’s body was found in a plastic bag in a closet on the second floor of Uchima’s house.  According to police officials, the girl went missing after her mother dropped her off near the house of her classmate’s grandmother where she was expected to meet the classmate, Saturday morning.

After the classmate’s mother informed Miwa’s parents that she had not showed up, they reported her missing to the police.  Investigators believe she ran into Uchima, who lives about 80 meters away, somewhere in the neighborhood. He then killed her and took the body into his house.

The friend Miwa was supposed to meet is the daughter of Uchima’s common-law wife, with whom he was living in the house.   Uchima is from Okinawa and moved to Buzen City in Fukuoka a few years ago.  Neighbors all say they ‘do not know him well’.