She said, “I left the windows open for about 30 minutes without turning on the air conditioner because it was disturbing the surroundings. I put the children in the back seat and I was in the front seat operating my smartphone.
It seems that the suspect’s initial statement was a complete lie.
On August 2, the Atsugi Police Station of the Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested Nagasawa Rena, 21, an unemployed woman living in the same city, on suspicion of abandoning a child in protective custody. Nagasawa left her two toddlers in an uncooled car during a hot summer day, and her one-year-old son died shortly afterwards.
The incident took place on the afternoon of July 29. The maximum temperature that day was over 33 degrees Celsius. It was just before 5 p.m. when Nagasawa called 119, saying, ‘My two children are sick. The location was the parking lot of “Bosai no Oka Park” in Atsugi City.
When paramedics rushed to the scene, the two toddlers were limp. The eldest son was unconscious and transported to the hospital, where he was quickly pronounced dead. The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was heat stroke, and the 2-year-old daughter also died on August 2.
A case of neglect that had been brought to our attention about two weeks earlier.
This is not the first time Nagasawa has caused similar trouble: on July 8, she left her eldest son in the car while she went shopping in the town of Samukawa in the central part of the prefecture. A neighbor passing by found the crying boy and called the police, who issued a warning to Nagasawa, accusing her of neglect.
“The suspect initially stated that she was ‘in the car with the children’ when the incident occurred. However, many inconsistencies were uncovered, including the fact that she did not notice the children’s deteriorating health until they became unconscious. As the police proceeded with their investigation, they found that Nagasawa had left the two toddlers unattended in the car.
The destination was the home of a male acquaintance. The car was parked near the man’s house, and when Nagasawa returned to the car about an hour later, the two children were already limp from heat stroke. This was probably to hide the fact that she was visiting the man. Nagasawa moved the car to the park parking lot and called 119. She admitted to the police that she left the children unattended,” said the police investigator.
Former Kanagawa Prefectural Police detective and crime journalist Taihei Ogawa said, “The suspect is suspected of abandoning his child.”
The charge is abandonment by a person responsible for the child’s protection, but in effect it is murder by the mother. The man she knew may have been her boyfriend. Of course, she is free to associate with him. But as a mother, you have to fulfill your responsibilities. If the presence of children is an obstacle, then you should not be in a relationship. Even if you get married as you wish, the possibility of abuse remains.
“This is not the time to leave your children in the car under the scorching heat . You put your own actions first and neglected to take care of your children. We believe the suspect is doubly and triply guilty, including making false statements.”
Nagasawa lives with his mother and two children. The police are also investigating him for neglecting his eldest daughter.
Photo by： Shinji Hasuo