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Children of Ibaraki Pref. couple stabbed to death say attacker wore hat, mask: police

The home, center, where the suspected murder of Miwa and Mitsunori Kobayashi took place, is seen in a wooded area surrounded by fields, in this image taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter over Sakai, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Sept. 23. (Mainichi/Kaho Kitayama)

SAKAI, Ibaraki -- The children that survived a fatal stabbing attack during the early hours of Sept. 23, which left a husband and wife dead, have said the assailant was wearing a hat and mask, according to information revealed by an individual connected to the investigation.

Mitsunori Kobayashi, a 48-year-old company employee, and his wife, part-time worker Miwa Kobayashi, 50, were found dead with cuts and stab wounds to their necks and in other places from what appeared to be a knife. Two of their children who were sleeping at the time also sustained injuries.

There is a possibility the assailant concealed their face as part of a planned attack. It was also reported that there were no signs of the property being ransacked.

According to a Sept. 24 announcement by Ibaraki Prefectural Police of the couple's autopsy results, Mitsunori died from blood loss caused by stab wounds to the chest, and Miwa lost her life due to blood loss from stabbing injuries and cuts to the neck.

A person connected to the investigation said the couple's son, who is 13 and a first-year junior high school student, had serious injuries to both legs and an arm. Their youngest daughter, 11, in the sixth grade at elementary school, had minor wounds. Both children were sleeping on the second floor of the house, in a bunk bed in their shared room.

Police say the boy told them that he thinks he was attacked by one person, that due to darkness he couldn't see the assailant's face, and that the experience was frightening. Prefectural police are carefully investigating whether others may have been involved.

The youngest daughter is reported to have said a substance was sprayed at her, and that she has pain in both arms. The couple's eldest daughter, a 21-year-old third-year university student with her own room on the first floor, was not harmed. She is said to have told police that she hadn't realized there had been an incident until she was woken by sirens.

It's understood that at the time of the attack, there were multiple unlocked windows and doors on the first and second floors of the property. Police have said that because there is no broken window glass or damaged doors, it appears the attacker entered the property via an unlocked entryway.

The house stands in the middle of a small wooded area that is thick with trees. The forest itself is surrounded by fields, and the next residence is hundreds of meters away. An individual connected to the investigation said slippers had been found in the woods, about 20 meters from the house, and that footprints belonging to someone other than the family members were detected outside the building.

Prefectural police are investigating the connection of the slippers to the case, including the possibility that the attacker wore them during their escape from the scene.

The incident took place in the early hours of Sept. 23. Miwa called the emergency 110 number for help at around 12:40 a.m. When police officers arrived at the scene, both Mitsunori and Miwa were found dead on their futons with multiple wounds to their faces, necks and other areas from a sharp bladed object.

They appeared to have been attacked all of a sudden while sleeping, and the cordless landline phone that Miwa had used to call police was found dropped by her side.

(Japanese original by Kotone Nirasawa and Kyoka Kobayashi, Mito Bureau)

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