Murder suspect escapes unlocked interrogation room


A 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murdering four people in Omuta, Fukuoka Prefecture, in September escaped from a prosecutors’ office during questioning Saturday evening but was recaptured later, police said.

Takashi Kitamura escaped from the office, located in Kurume, while his handcuffs were removed so he could eat a meal between questioning, the Fukuoka Prefectural Police said.

Three officers were present in the room, but the room was unlocked.

He was captured in Omuta after he fled in a taxi, they said.

Kitamura had been arrested along with his father, Jitsuo, 60; mother, Mami, 45; and younger brother, Takahiro, 20; on suspicion of abandoning the body of Joji Takami, 15, one of the four victims in the case, in a river in Omuta on Sept. 18.

The boy’s body was discovered Sept. 21. His neck and both ankles were tied with a rope attached to three chunks of concrete.

Mami Kitamura initially told investigators she had killed the boy; his mother, Sayoko, 58; his brother, Tatsuyuki, 18; and Tatsuyuki’s friend, Junichi Hara, 17; and dumped them in a river.

Based on that information, police found the bodies of the three Sept. 23 in a minivehicle that had sunk to the bottom of the river. Mami Kitamura later said it was one of her sons who killed the victims.

Jitsuo Kitamura reported to Omuta police station Sept. 22 after her arrest and attempted to shoot himself in the head with a gun he still had while being questioned by police.