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Boy held over killing grandfather, injuring grandmother, says he was bullied

Investigators enter an apartment block where a 15-year-old boy allegedly stabbed his grandmother, in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, on Oct. 19, 2018. (Mainichi/Yuki Nakagawa)

WAKO, Saitama -- The teen arrested in connection with the murder of his grandfather and attempted murder of his grandmother in this city north of Tokyo has stated that he was bullied at school, according to individuals connected to the investigation.

Saitama Prefectural Police are trying to confirm the claims with school officials and others as investigators continue to look for a motive.

The 15-year-old third-year junior high school student, whose name is being withheld as he is a minor, has also told police that he attacked his 82-year-old grandmother first, according to those familiar with the matter.

He was arrested on suspicion of slashing his grandmother's neck in the couple's home in Wako, Saitama Prefecture, on the evening of Oct. 18, causing serious injuries. The woman managed to escape into the bathroom, and left a call for help on the voicemail of her 53-year-old daughter, the teen's mother. The boy's 87-year-old grandfather was found dead at the couple's home with more than 10 stab wounds to his upper body.

According to figures close to the investigation, after the student attacked his grandmother, he returned to his home nearby to change out of his blood-stained junior high school uniform. He left the house without waiting for his mother or the other members of his family to return, and was taken into police custody the next day at roughly 9:50 a.m. some 20 kilometers away, in front of Kawagoe Station in the prefectural city of Kawagoe.

The teen said that he had "been bullied at school" and that he "intended to kill a classmate (he) couldn't forgive." However, he did not want to trouble his family members with the murder, so planned to kill all of them before taking his classmate's life.

The student attended a private junior high school in the prefecture, and belonged to a class for students with exceptional grades. An individual related to the school said, "He was quiet, was never absent or tardy, and his attitude toward classes was diligent. We were not aware of any bullying or any other issues."

The student was a member of the science club, and his favorite class was computers. He spent more time by himself relative to other students, but there were no unusual incidents during break times between classes. In addition, in a questionnaire distributed before parent, teacher and student meetings planned for the end of October, the teen's family did not request to discuss anything in particular.

On the day of the incident, the student attended school as usual, and participated in practice for a November choir contest after classes ended for the day. He left school around 4 p.m., and is thought to have headed to his grandparent's residence.

According to a resident in the same apartment complex, when the student was in kindergarten, his grandmother often looked after him, such as picking him up from school. A friend of his grandmother recalled, "When he passed an exam, she got excited like she was the one who had been successful."

Those close to the investigation say that the teen's textbooks and reference books for class were found in his grandparent's residence, suggesting that he might have occasionally studied there recently. However, he has made no comment about harboring ill feelings toward the couple.

"What was his real motive? It's difficult to say that we have been able to discern his true intentions," a senior investigative official said, as police continue their search for evidence to back up the student's testimony.

(Japanese original by Takuya Suzuki, Yuki Nakagawa, and Shu Hatakeyama, Saitama Bureau)

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