A body was found in a river in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, local authorities said Tuesday, and police are investigating whether it may be that of a 7-year-old girl who went missing on her way to a park about 10 days ago.

Local police and firefighters said the body was discovered in the Edo River, 15 kilometers downstream from where Saya Minami's shoes and socks were found on the riverbank on Sept. 24, the day after she went missing.

Reporters gather near the scene where a body was found in a river in Chiba Prefecture on Oct. 4, 2022. (Kyodo)

Minami, a first grader residing in the city of Matsudo, was headed to the park with her mother but left the house on her own around 11:30 a.m., the police said earlier. Her mother followed some five minutes later but the girl was nowhere to be found.

Later on the day she went missing, the kick scooter Minami had with her when she left home was found at another park in neighboring Nagareyama city in Chiba.

Since her disappearance, police have conducted searches in the river and using helicopters.

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