Saya-chan, where are you, what are you doing, please come back soon!
It has been seven days since Saya Minami, a first grader living in Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture, went missing. The family of the missing child is still searching for her, and made this comment to the press.
At 11:00 a.m. on September 23, as a typhoon approached, she jumped on her favorite kick skates and headed for a park near the banks of the Edogawa River, about 1.4 km from her home, where she disappeared without a trace.
As her mother, acquaintances, and the police searched for Asame, her kick skates were found in a park near the Edogawa riverbed at 4:20 p.m. on the 23rd, and shoes and socks believed to belong to Asame were found on the Edogawa riverbed 300 meters away from the park at 10 a.m. on the 24th. According to the deputy chief of the Matsudo Police Department, the shoes and socks did not appear to have been hidden or discarded at the time of discovery and appeared to have been taken off on the spot.
A handbag that appeared to be Asame’s was also found in a park near her home, where her mother and Asame were originally supposed to meet, and her hat was found again at 1 p.m. on January 28 at a water intake facing the Edo River, 1 km downstream from the riverbed where the shoes were found.
Asame’s belongings were found one after another, but there are still many unexplained aspects of her disappearance that remain a mystery.
The riverbed and the park were both secluded.
On the day Asame went missing, a security camera at a temple near the park caught a glimpse of her. The time was 12:00 noon, about 30 minutes after Asame left home. She was seen running to the park on a scooter at a dizzying pace, mindful of the cars passing by.
“The camera showed the child walking toward the park, looking for a car that had come to visit a grave. The 23rd was the middle day of the far bank of the year and a national holiday. Many people were visiting this temple to visit the graves. At the time this child passed by, there were four cars parked in the parking lot.” ( temple’s chief priest. )
Neighbors who were letting their children play in a park near the Edogawa riverbed also saw a girl who looked like Asame pass by in a scooter. Furthermore, there is a puzzling point. The local youth baseball team had been practicing all day near the riverbed where Asame’s shoes and socks were found.
“On the 23rd, we were practicing on the riverbed between 8:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the evening. It started raining around 3:00 p.m., but it was a light rain, so practice was normal. The staff is usually very careful about the river side, so if there was someone on the river side, we would have noticed. There are times when children are playing with their friends or families on the ground, but it is not a place where you can play in the water by the river, and I have never seen anyone playing in that way. 23 On the 23rd, I saw families playing, but I did not see any children playing alone.“( A member of a youth baseball team )
Asame was near the river in the midst of many people. How did Asame move from the park, where there were many people, to the riverbed, where there was a clear view and people could see her?
The Edogawa River was calm.
It was on the evening of the 24th that the police launched an open investigation. Wide TV shows showed the Edogawa River in a greatly swollen state, but on the 23rd, the day Asame went missing, the river was said to be calm as usual.
“The Edogawa River was relatively calm on the 23rd, with no significant rise in the water level. The water level was about 4 meters. The water level rose so rapidly that the riverbed ground was flooded. The flooding began on the night of the 24th.“ (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Edogawa River Office)
The shoes were found in a grassy area about 20 to 30 meters away from the riverbank, where the grass is up to an adult knees. If Asame had fallen into the river, she would have had to take off her shoes and socks and then wade barefoot through the overgrown grass to get to the riverbank. Also, she was usually afraid of water and did not play in the water alone. What kind of 7-year-old girl would go to such great lengths to approach the river?
The police have deployed 120 investigators to search the river every day, and since the discovery of Asame’s hat on March 28, they have been focusing their efforts on the area near the water intake where it was found.
The police are still investigating both the accident and the incident.
Information: Matsudo Police Station 047-369-0110