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Nursery worker held over boy's death may have injured him away from camera

HIRATSUKA, Kanagawa -- A nursery employee arrested on suspicion of inflicting fatal injuries on a newborn child is seen on security footage taking the child out of view of the camera, it has been learned from investigative sources, suggesting the worker may have inflicted the injuries while away from the camera.

    Yusuke Tsunoda, 34, has been arrested on suspicion of injuring 4-month-old Rinto Idenawa on Dec. 6, 2015, at the nursery "Chibikko Boy" in Hiratsuka, causing the boy to die from brain damage. Tsunoda is denying the allegations.

    According to sources including prefectural police, Rinto was left at the nursery at around midnight on Dec. 5. There were 23 children including Rinto at the nursery, but the only nurse on duty was Tsunoda.

    Investigative sources say that security camera footage from the facility shows Tsunoda picking up Rinto from a bed and taking him out of view of the camera. Afterwards Tsunoda is seen returning Rinto to the bed. He would then call emergency authorities to report that Rinto wasn't breathing.

    On Oct. 21, Rinto's mother released a comment through her lawyer saying, "My son won't come back, but I want Tsunoda to be put on trial and be severely punished."

    The manager of the nursery, Tetsuya Hayashi, 49, has also been arrested by prefectural police on suspicion of destroying evidence by breaking a computer at the nursery that Tsunoda had used.

    Chibikko Boy is a so-called "baby hotel," a 24-hour nursery operating without official certification. Prefectural authorities found in their investigation that Tsunoda had been the only nurse on duty when Rinto died, which is in violation of the prefecture's standards that call for at least two staff members to always be on duty.

    Located in a building near JR Hiratsuka Station, Chibikko Boy was warned by the prefectural government about operation violations six times since 2008. Before Rinto's death the prefectural government had twice released requests for improvements at the nursery on the authority of the Child Welfare Act.

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