Woman, partner arrested over death of her 3-year-old daughter
SAITAMA — January 13th, 2016
Police in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, have arrested a couple on suspicion of abandoning responsibility for Fujimoto’s 3-year-old daughter, whose body was found with burn marks on her face. Police believe the girl’s death may have been the result of recurring domestic abuse.
The suspects, Ayaka Fujimoto, 22, and her common-law husband Yuki Okawara, 24, are accused of abandoning responsibility for Fujimoto’s second oldest daughter Hazuki after she had suffered severe burn injuries, which led to her death, Fuji TV reported. Fujimoto also has a 4-year-old daughter.
According to police, on Jan 9, Okawara called police reporting that the girl’s body was cold when he woke up. When officers arrived at the scene, Hazuki was lying face up in her futon. She was confirmed dead at the scene.
According to police, the couple has admitted that they never took Hazuki to a hospital despite being aware that the child had suffered burn injuries. Fujimoto also admitted to scalding Hazuki’s face with boiling water.
Besides burn injuries on her face, Hazuki’s body also bore traces of other scars and injuries, leading police to believe that the child may have been abused on a regular basis, officials said.
Neighbors were quoted by police as saying that at the end of last year they could hear loud children’s cries coming from the suspects’ house, often for up to an hour, and that they had not seen the children since.
Police also revealed that they had been summoned by neighbors on two occasions last June and July after residents had witnessed the children locked outside the house. At the time, however, police found no signs of abuse on either child and no reports were made to the local child consultation centers.