13-Year-Old May Have Stabbed Sleeping Mother Over Smartphone

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Shizuoka prefectural police headquarters

 MAKINOHARA, Shizuoka — A 13-year-old girl taken into custody on suspicion of fatally stabbing her mother may have committed the attack while her mother was asleep, according to investigative sources.

 The girl said she and her mother, who was in her 40s, had been talking about a smartphone. Prefectural police are questioning the girl and family members who live with her, in a bid to determine the motive and circumstances related to the incident.

 According to the police, a member of the woman’s family called to report the stabbing at about 11:50 p.m. on Monday. The mother was found lying on a bed bleeding, with multiple stab wounds to the neck and other parts of her body.

She was confirmed dead about 90 minutes later at the hospital where she had been taken. The official cause of death will be confirmed through an autopsy.

 The 13-year-old girl, a junior high school student, has admitted stabbing her mother, according to investigators. The girl said they were talking about a smartphone shortly before she committed the assault.

 Police believe that the girl may have deliberately attacked her mother while she was sleeping, as she was less likely to resist at that time, and are investigating whether an argument over the smartphone prompted the girl to commit the crime.

 The Penal Code stipulates that no one under 14 years of age can be held criminally responsible, therefore such charges will not be brought against the girl. Given her age of 13, she will instead be treated as a juvenile offender.

Police notified the prefecture’s child consultation center about the case on Tuesday and the girl is expected to be transferred to their custody. The center will determine whether to send the case to family court after conducting a specialized investigation. If that happens, the family court will decide on the measures to be taken, such as sending the child to a juvenile training school or putting her on probation.

 The girl was living with her mother and grandparents, according to neighbors. A woman in her 80s who lives nearby said she had recently seen her going to school.

 “She seemed to be the same as usual, I saw nothing unusual. It’s heart-wrenching to hear what happened,” the woman said.