The hunt for suspect Koji Yamada began when Osaka prefectural police started looking for a gray minivan seen in footage from security cameras. An investigator found such a vehicle, which belonged to Yamada, in a bustling area in the Doyamacho district of Kita Ward, Osaka, at 1.15 am Friday (12.15am Singapore time).
According to the police, Yamada drove the car around within Osaka Prefecture and stopped in a mountainous area in the Aotani district of Kashiwara in the afternoon of the same day. He then got out of the vehicle and entered a bamboo forest carrying nothing. After a while, he returned to the minivan and drove away.
Investigators then searched the area and found the body of a boy at 7.36pm. The body was bound with duct tape wrapped in layers on its face and both hands. Death had occurred several days earlier, investigative sources said.
The police continued to tail Yamada as investigators became more certain that he had abandoned the body of Natsumi Hirata, a 13-year-old girl.
Shortly after 8pm., several police cars blocked Yamada's car while he was waiting for the light at an intersection in the Imafuku-Higashi district of Joto Ward, Osaka. An investigator opened the door on the driver's side and arrested him at 8.22pm after informing the suspect that there was a warrant for his arrest.
"A person was on the ground in the road, and three or four guys who looked like police officers were holding him down," said a female university student who witnessed the moment of the arrest. "The guy said nothing, and he didn't resist."