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Suspect in murder of Saitama boy 'became furious when told he was not real dad'

Yusuke Shindo is seen in the backseat of a police car in Saitama's Minuma Ward on Sept. 19, 2019, while being sent to Omiya-higashi Police Station. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

SAITAMA -- A man under arrest on suspicion of abandoning the body of his stepson has told police that he choked the victim after becoming furious when the boy said he was not the victim's real father, those linked to the investigation said.

"I told off my stepson for losing his red-and-white cap (often used in school athletic meetings), and he told me, 'You're not my real father.' I got furious and choked him," the suspect, Yusuke Shindo, 32, was quoted as telling investigators.

Saitama Prefectural Police referred the suspect to prosecutors on Sept. 19 on suspicion of abandoning the victim's body, and are cautiously investigating his suspected involvement in the murder of the victim, 9-year-old Ryosuke Shindo.

Ryosuke came home in Minuma Ward, Saitama, north of Tokyo, at around 4 p.m. on Sept. 17, the day he went missing, prefectural police said. At the time, Yusuke was apparently staying home. Ryosuke was not at home when his mother came home at around 6 p.m. At the time, Yusuke told his wife that the boy had gone to an English conversation school.

However, it turned out at around 8 p.m. that Ryosuke never showed up at the English school that afternoon, prompting his mother to call the police.

Police found the victim's body in the meter box of a vacant apartment opposite his home on the second floor of a housing complex for school teachers and staff.

Ryosuke's shoes were found in a place in his home where they were not usually kept, leading investigators to suspect that Yusuke tried to make it look as if his stepson had gone to the language school in a bid to delay the discovery of the victim's body.

According to investigative sources, Yusuke had initially denied his involvement in the incident during voluntary questioning. However, he began on Sept. 19 to admit having abandoned the victim's body. He then acknowledged that he choked the victim.

A rope believed to have been used to strangle Ryosuke has been found in the family's home.

According to investigative and other sources, Yusuke married Ryosuke's 42-year-old mother, who is a schoolteacher, sometime around this past spring and lived with her and her son. Yusuke sometimes played with Ryosuke.

(Japanese original by Takuya Suzuki, Yuki Nakagawa and Ayako Hiramoto, Saitama Bureau)

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