TOKYO – Police in Japan have detained a 23-year-old man wanted for abducting the girl and holding her captive in his apartment for two years.
The 15-year-old escaped from suspect Kabu Terauchi’s apartment in Tokyo on Sunday while he was out shopping and called home from a pay phone.
She disappeared two years ago from her home town in Saitama, near Tokyo.
Saitama Police said investigators detained Terauchi on Monday near a forest west of Tokyo. He was bleeding from the neck from a minor self-inflicted injury.
It’s believed Terauchi tried to kill himself with a box cutter after his victim escaped.
Terauchi, a resident of Tokyoâ€™s Nakano Ward who had who graduated from Chiba University earlier this month. is being treated for his injuries in hospital.
Terauchi was carrying a box cutter and a wallet. He said he used the blade in a suicide attempt, but police could not interrogate him because he was bleeding heavily, they said.
Police said the girl told investigators she escaped when her captor forgot to lock the door from the outside when he went out shopping in Akihabara, known as a district for technology and comic book geeks.
She called police from a pay phone and officers immediately took her into protective custody.
She told police that she was under â€œfull-time confinementâ€. She also said she was â€œabducted in front of my home in Saitama by being forced into a car by an unfamiliar man.â€
The teenager said she was initially taken to the city of Chiba, where police believe she was held for a long time before Terauchi moved to an apartment near Higashi-Nakano Station in Tokyoâ€™s Nakano Ward last month.
She also said Terauchi sometimes took her outside, but the police suspect she couldnâ€™t escape on those rare occasions because he kept a close eye on her, they said. She also said he always kept her locked in.
She managed to escape on Sunday when she found the door unlocked and called police from a public phone at the station shortly after noon, the police said.
Terauchi was out at the time and had said he was heading to Akihabara to buy a mobile phone, she was quoted as saying.
â€œThe man went outside, saying he would go to Akihabara. Usually the door was locked from the outside, but it was not today,â€ she was quoted as saying.
Before calling the police, however, she telephoned her mother and told her she was at Higashi-Nakano Station. Her mother then told her to contact the police, and separately made an emergency call.
The girl was escorted to Niiza Police Station in Saitama on Sunday and reunited with her family, the police said.
â€œIâ€™m really relieved. I want to spend time with my daughter so that we can regain time weâ€™ve lost,â€ the father of the girl, whose name is being withheld, said in a written statement.
Terauchi is suspected of tricking the girl into accompanying him by falsely telling her that her parents were getting divorced and that he would take her to a lawyerâ€™s office, according to the source.
As authorities continued to search the suspectâ€™s home Monday morning, curtains in the first-floor apartment remained closed. Police officers were seen leaving the three-story building with cardboard boxes and plastic containers.
Meanwhile, a man from Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, who introduced himself as Terauchiâ€™s father, said in a telephone interview with Kyodo News that he was shocked to hear about his sonâ€™s alleged involvement. The father apparently had not spoken at length with his son in some time, noting he needed to check in on Terauchi.
According to several residents in the area where the suspectâ€™s parents live, his family moved into their apartment several years ago and had not since developed any strong ties to the neighborhood.
â€œI donâ€™t really know them; When they moved in, I thought they were just like anybody else,â€ an elderly woman who lives nearby said.
Meanwhile in Asaka, a representative of a local support group that had helped the victimâ€™s family gather information on the girlâ€™s whereabouts offered to continue to aid the family.
â€œWe will continue to hope that their lives can return to normal,â€ said the representative, a former head of the Parent Teacher Association at the girlâ€™s school.
The man, one of several volunteers who aided the family, had canvassed the streets for information on the then junior high school student.
â€œIâ€™m glad weâ€™ve continued doing this for the past two years,â€ the man said. â€œI believe the fact that we didnâ€™t give up created a mysterious power (that helped find the girl),â€ he said.
Earlier this month, the girlâ€™s junior high school held its graduation ceremony for her class.
â€œWe wish you will come back again safely and spend time together,â€ read a message the girlâ€™s classmates had written in the class yearbook.
At the graduation ceremony, one of the girlâ€™s classmates addressed her in a speech, saying that while she was not there, she was still remembered.
â€œToday weâ€™re graduating with our hearts full of memories that we have created together as classmates,â€ the representative said.Â – AP, Kyodo News