Tokyo Couple Arrested for Allegedly Fatally Poisoning Their 4-Year-Old Daughter; Child Given Psychotropic Drugs

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Kenichi Hosoya (R) and Shiho Hosoya (L) are taken out of their apartment in Taito Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

A couple was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of killing their 4-year-old daughter by giving her poisonous amounts of substances in March last year, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

According to the authorities, the suspects — Kenichi Hosoya, a 43-year-old company executive, and Shiho Hosoya, 37 — allegedly killed their daughter Yoshiki in their apartment on the 10th floor of a residential building in Taito Ward, Tokyo.

The police also found suspicious points surrounding the death of Kenichi’s then 41-year-old sister who died roughly six years ago and are carefully investigating that case as well.

The couple allegedly fatally poisoned Yoshiki by somehow having her ingest the psychotropic drug olanzapine and chemical substance ethylene glycol around March 13 last year, according to police.

Kenichi denied the allegation, saying, “I’m not involved,” while Shiho had no comment, the police said.

Around 9 a.m. on the day, Kenichi called an ambulance and said that his daughter was not breathing, according to investigative sources. Yoshiki was confirmed dead at a hospital about an hour later. Since the couple had a child abuse report on record, the police conducted an autopsy, which detected a lethal amount of olanzapine and ethylene glycol in her body.

Olanzapine is a drug used to treat schizophrenia and depression, and an overdose may result in impaired consciousness. Ethylene glycol is used as an automotive antifreeze agent and can cause hyperventilation and kidney failure if ingested.

The police searched the suspects’ home on suspicion of murder in August, believing that there was a strong possibility that Yoshiki had been drugged. They found olanzapine tablets and confirmed that both suspects had purchased olanzapine and an antifreeze agent.

Kenichi’s sister, who lived in another apartment in the same building, died in April 2018. The cause of death was not determined in the autopsy at the time. However, the police resumed their investigation after Yoshiki’s death, and found suspicious points regarding parts of the preserved body. The police believe that both suspects know the circumstances of her death.

Record of abuse

Yoshiki, along with her older brother and sister, was temporarily placed in the custody of a Tokyo child consultation center in March 2019 when she was 2 months old due to suspected psychological abuse. The police believe that Yoshiki had been a victim of neglect even after she was returned to her parents several months later.

The police became aware of the abuse of the three children at that time through an investigation of another case and notified the child consultation center.