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Man arrested after three found dead in Saitama on Christmas

Hazel Wyatt

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HANNO, Saitama Prefecture--Prefectural police arrested a 40-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder on Dec. 25 after they found three people dead at a house north of Tokyo earlier that same day.


Police discovered the bodies of a man and two women--believed to be a couple in their 60s who lived in the house and their daughter in her 30s--at the property in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture, about 1.5 kilometers southwest of Hanno Station.


The man had suffered wounds to his head and neck, apparently after being hit by a blunt object, according to police sources. The two women had similar wounds.


That evening, police arrested Jun Saito, an unemployed man who lives nearby on suspicion of attempted murder, but police now plan to upgrade the charge to murder.


“I don’t want to say anything,” Saito was quoted as telling investigators.


Police had received several emergency calls from the neighborhood around 7:15 a.m. on Christmas Day, including reports that people were loudly arguing and that a fire had broken out on the second floor of the home.


When officers arrived at the scene about 15 minutes later, they discovered a fire on the second floor of the house and three bodies lying in separate locations on the premises, including the yard.


The fire had burned part of the second floor before it was extinguished before 9 a.m.


Police received a report from a witness that a man was rushing away from the scene soon after the incident. Police said they believe the man was Saito, based on security camera footage taken in the area.


Police said they believe Saito may have held a grudge against the couple.


In January, Saito was arrested by prefectural police on suspicion of property destruction over damage done to the couple’s car, which was parked at their home, according to the investigators.


After he was referred to prosecutors, however, he was not indicted. Sources said they believe Saito had reached an out-of-court settlement with the couple. Prefectural police are now trying to confirm that information.


A man in his 60s in the neighborhood said he saw the damage done to the vehicle and described it as deep scratches extending all around the body.


“It looked like the scratches had been gouged deeply by a knife or a screwdriver,” he said. “It seemed like it was not a prank but like someone had done it with malicious intent.”


After the investigation into the destruction of property had finished, the couple never called police about their relationship with Saito, according to the prefectural police.

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