A 9-year-old boy was found strangled to death in an apartment building where he lived with his family in Saitama, near Tokyo, on Wednesday, police said.
The body of Ryosuke Shindo was found inside a locker-sized compartment for utility meters near the building's stairs at around 12:40 a.m., hours after his 42-year-old mother reported him missing after he left home to attend an English conversation school.
The police, who have launched a murder investigation, said they determined the boy had never arrived at the school.
They also said the state of his body indicated that hours had passed between when he was found and the time of his death.
He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts but had no shoes at the time his body was found. Other than the marks from strangulation, there were no other injuries to his body, they said.
The apartment complex is a housing facility for teachers located about 4 kilometers east of JR Omiya Station.
The mother, a teacher, came home from work and was told by her 32-year-old husband that their son had gone to the English school, but after he failed to return home at the time expected, she called the police at around 8:20 p.m., according to the police.