YOKOHAMA – Kanagawa prefectural police said Thursday they have arrested a 29-year-old man of no fixed occupation on suspicion of kidnapping a 15-year-old intellectually disabled girl from a shopping mall.
According to police, the suspect approached the girl at around 2:40 p.m. on July 20, while she was visiting the Terrace Mall Shonan in Fujisawa City with her family. The girl is a special needs student residing in Yokohama. After she was separated from her family, Harada allegedly abducted her.
After they couldn’t find her in or outside the mall, the girl’s family submitted a missing person’s report at around 4 p.m. at a nearby police box.
On Wednesday evening, the girl was found unharmed inside the suspect’s home, which is about 15 kms from the shopping mall. Besides the girl and the suspect, his mother and grandmother were also present.
Police said the suspect has denied the charge; however, surveillance camera footage taken from the mall and on nearby streets show him walking alongside the girl.
The suspect was quoted by police as saying it was the first time he had met the girl and that he wasn’t aware she was only 15.
Police said the suspect served an 18-month jail term eight months ago for a similar offense.