Neighbors in Fist Grader Girl Disappeared in Matsudo City Riverbank near a Crowded Park
“A typhoon was approaching, but it wasn’t raining in the morning, so I let my kids play outside at a nearby park. Just then, I remember a girl on a kick-skater passed in front of the park,” said a resident of a neighborhood in Chiba.
Four days have passed since Saya Minami, a first grade elementary school student living in Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture, went missing on September 23. Currently, the police have mobilized about 120 investigators to search for her, mainly in the Edogawa River basin and Matsudo City.
Asame was reported missing around 11:30 a.m. on the 23rd. Asame left the house for Park A, where she usually plays, on her kick skates, and her mother followed her five minutes later, leaving the house and heading for Park A. However, Asame was not found there.
The mother searched for Asame with acquaintances, but could not find her even after 3.5 hours. After an hour and 20 minutes of searching, Asame’s kick skates were found abandoned in Park B (Nagareyama City), 900 meters away from Park A, near the banks of the Edogawa River.
He said, “This park is always crowded with parents and children. We let first-graders play alone. It was sunny in the morning, so we were at the park too, and we saw a girl who looked like Asame-chan. It started raining in the afternoon, so we were wondering if she was able to go home alone,” said a resident who lives near the park.
In Park B, surrounded by new residential areas, there were parents and children with small children. There were also people walking their dogs here and there, making it a very public place. The park is located right in front of the Edogawa riverbed, and the parents had warned their children to stay away from the river.
“The parents warned their children to stay away from the river. However, since they are children, they may impulsively go to the river. In fact, there are children who park their bicycles nearby and play on the ground of the riverbed,” said a resident who lives near the park.
Asame, who went missing this time, was said to have been energetic and active.
According to parents and others who knew Asame, she was a smiling and laughing girl who was well-liked by the other children’s parents. She liked to play outside and would go to the neighborhood park to run around and play ball.
Neighbors also saw her playing vigorously.
A neighbor who knew Asame said, “I often saw Asame playing with her mother at Park A.”
At 10:00 a.m. on the 24th, the day after Asame’s disappearance, a pair of shoes and socks believed to belong to Asame were found in the grass on the riverbed about 300 meters from Park B. We interviewed the deputy chief of the Matsudo Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the case.
“The shoes and socks were not hidden or thrown away, but were found in a condition that made it look as if they had been taken off on the spot. I can’t say at this time, but we have received various tips and are investigating the incident.”
At 4 p.m. in this area, announcements calling for a search for Asame are heard throughout the city, and the surrounding area is filled with a tense atmosphere as citizens search for her by car and bicycle, and police officers continue to search for the area. Asame’s family is also appealing to citizens’ groups for cooperation in the investigation.
Asame is about 115 cm tall and thin. When she left her home, she was wearing a light pink short-sleeved T-shirt and blue short pants.
Where did Asame go, leaving her shoes, socks, and her favorite kick skates behind? Residents hoped that they will find her as soon as possible.
Information provided by: Matsudo Police Station 047-369-0110