The child was playing in the room when I heard a loud thud. The child seemed to have jumped, fallen, and hit her head. When I went there, I found the child unconscious.”
The male assailant himself called 119 and explained the incident.
On August 24, Kanagawa Prefectural Police Investigation Division arrested Masaya Uchida, 30, a suspect with an unknown occupation in Midori Ward, Yokohama City, on suspicion of manslaughter. He is suspected of assaulting and killing the son of a woman he was dating, Koshiro Konno (4 at the time), in an apartment in Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama City. Uchida denies the allegation, saying he did not commit the assault.
The incident occurred four years ago, around 10:00 a.m. on January 23, 2006. At the time, the female roommate was out of the house and the suspect and Kashiro were alone in the apartment. The suspect called 119 and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead two days later in the afternoon of January 25. The cause of death was acute subdural hematoma and traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage.
The woman was also troubled by living together. ……
The deceased Kashiro had multiple bruises on his body. The hospital became suspicious and immediately afterward reported the incident to the police, saying that they suspected abuse.
In September 2005, about six months before the incident, a woman who lived with him also reported to the police that her boyfriend was hitting her child. The prefectural police recognized the bruises on Kashiro’s body and verbally warned the suspect Uchida. They also notified the Child Guidance Center in Yokohama. The Child Welfare Bureau visited the home and recognized the abuse, but decided that it was not urgent and did not take Kashiro into custody.
Four years have passed since KANESHIRO’s death. Why did it take so long to arrest the suspect? Former Kanagawa Prefectural Police detective and crime journalist Taihei Ogawa explains.
Abuse takes place behind closed doors, so there is not enough evidence to make an arrest. If the assault took place in a space where only two people were present, as in this case, it is even more difficult to make an arrest. With a preschooler, the only people who know what is going on are those who live with the child. The suspect would have been asked what happened, but if he denies it, the hurdle is even higher.
A woman’s stepchild tends to be hated by the man she is in a relationship with. They are unable to love them because they are their ex-boyfriend’s children, and the violence escalates. The reason why the case was arrested after four years may be that the woman who lived with him accused him of abuse and provided the police with videos and other evidence. It was a difficult investigation.
The police are further investigating whether the assaults were routine.
Photographed by： Shinji Hasuo