2 Women Arrested in Hokkaido for Allegedly Killing 17-year-old Girl; Likely Caused Victim’s Fall from Bridge after Online trouble (UPDATE1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators from the Hokkaido prefectural police search the Ishikari River in Asahikawa on May 20.

ASAHIKAWA — Hokkaido prefectural police arrested two women, ages 21 and 19, on Wednesday on suspicion of murdering a 17-year-old high school girl by causing her to fall into the Ishikari River from a suspension bridge in Asahikawa in April. The body of the girl, Runa Murayama from Rumoi, Hokkaido, was found in the river in late May.

According to the police and other sources, Riko Uchida, 21, and the other woman, both living in Asahikawa, allegedly made Murayama fall from the Kamui Ohashi bridge in the Kamui Kotan area of Asahikawa into the Ishikari River, about 10 meters below the bridge, on April 19, causing her to drown. The police have not revealed whether the two had admitted to the murder accusations.

The incident appears to be related to online posts by Murayama that Uchida found objectionable. According to sources, Uchida made Murayama meet up with her on April 18 in connection with Murayama having posted Uchida’s photo on social media.

When they met, Uchida, together with a 16-year-old unemployed boy, allegedly extorted money and property from Murayama. Then, joined by the other woman and another 16-year-old girl, the four are believed to have locked Murayama in a car and assaulted her while driving her around in Asahikawa.

Murayama is believed to have never met the four before the incident.

Murayama’s family filed a missing person report with the local police on April 22. The apparent involvement of Uchida and three others surfaced in the course of the investigation, and the Hokkaido prefectural police arrested them on suspicion of unlawful confinement and other allegations.

The police later found that Murayama likely had also been subjected to sexual assault by Uchida and the other woman. Based on their statements, the police found Murayama’s body at a location tens of kilometers away from the Kamui Ohashi bridge. The two were rearrested in late May over suspicion of indecent assault without consent.

The police believe Murayama was taken to the bridge after being sexually assaulted.