Vietnamese schoolgirl was strangled to death as rape suspicion looms – Japanese police

By Viet Anh   March 27, 2017 | 10:37 pm PT
Vietnamese schoolgirl was strangled to death as rape suspicion looms – Japanese police
Japanese police investigate the scene where the Vietnamese girl's body was found, in a picture published by Vietnam News Agency, indicating Kyodo News as the source.
Autopsy results suggest that the nine-year-old died from suffocation caused by strangulation, after being sexually assaulted.

A nine-year-old Vietnamese girl whose naked body was found last Sunday in Japan likely died from suffocation, Nippon News Network cited police as saying.

Chiba Prefectural Police said that results of an autopsy revealed that Le Thi Nhat Linh, a third-year elementary school student, likely died due to suffocation caused by strangulation. She also had small injuries on her arms and legs.

Police in Abiko City, where her body was found, earlier advised the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan that the preliminary autopsy had found signs of sexual abuse on the girl’s body.

Police have pledged to find the culprit.

NHK reported on Tuesday that Linh had told one of her classmates last month that she has seen a suspicious man on the way to school in January and that she felt scared. It’s not immediately clear if the police are following this lead.

Linh’s school is a 10-minute walk from her home, and like many children in the area, she usually went on her own.

She did not show up on Friday morning, and her body was on Sunday in a grass field near a drainage ditch, police said. The city is 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

Her naked body, then already in the early stages of rigor mortis, was discovered by a man who was fishing in the nearby Tone River, Japan Times cited the police as saying.

An investigator told Kyodo News that police believe the victim’s body was dumped after she was murdered elsewhere, as there were no signs of a struggle in the field.

Investigators said she might have been kidnapped a few minutes after leaving her home as footage taken from security cameras in the area does not show her on the day she vanished.

No clothes or other items belonging to her, including her school bag, have been found. The site where she was found is about 10 kilometers from the school, and does not attract many passers-by.

A road the girl may have taken to school includes a relatively unused section obscured by a three-meter-high net to guard a pear orchard on both sides.

The Vietnamese Embassy said it will help bring the girl’s body to Vietnam.

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