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Arrested man admits to murdering university student in Ibaraki Pref.

Investigators examine the scene in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Kamisu where a body, believed to be that of a missing 19-year-old university student, was found, on Jan. 31, 2019. (Mainichi/Junichi Sasaki)

TOKYO -- A man was arrested on Jan. 31 after he admitted to having abandoned the body of a 19-year-old missing female university student in Ibaraki Prefecture, police said.

Koichi Hirose, 35, an unemployed man from Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, stands accused of abandoning a body in farmland in the Suda district of Kamisu sometime around Nov. 20, 2018. He admitted to his involvement in the murder of the student, according to those familiar with the matter.

"I met her for the first time after getting acquainted through an online bulletin board. She screamed, so I ended up killing her in a car," Hirose was quoted as telling investigators.

Based on Hirose's explanation, investigators searched farmland in Kamisu and found a body believed to be that of the student in the predawn hours of Jan. 31.

Ibaraki Prefectural Police are grilling Hirose over the details of his alleged crimes while trying to identify the body.

The victim, who hailed from Tochigi Prefecture, had been living alone in Tokyo's Katsushika Ward since spring 2018, but went missing around Nov. 20 last year.

After being consulted by a relative, prefectural police traced her movements and confirmed that she had traveled to Kamisu on Nov. 20 by train and taxi and met Hirose.

Investigators began questioning Hirose on Jan. 24 over the case on a voluntary basis. The suspect admitted on the night of Jan. 30 that he had abandoned the student's body in farmland, located about 13 kilometers from his home.

(Japanese original by Shota Harumashi, Yoshitaka Yamamoto and Hironori Tsuchie, City News Department)

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