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Alleged Serial Killer Found His Victims By Looking For Suicidal Twitter Users

(Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

A Japanese man was arrested Tuesday just one day after police discovered the dismembered body parts of nine people roughly 30 miles outside of Tokyo.

Takahiro Shiraishi, 27, admitted that he found his victims on Twitter, looking for those that were expressing suicidal thoughts, according to The New York Times. He has not yet been charged with murder, but only for “abandoning bodies.” Police are reportedly expected to charge him with homicide after further investigations. Many news reports in Japanese media are already painting him as a serial killer who preyed on the mentally weak and depressed.

When police examined the apartment of Shiraishi, who was allegedly extremely unhappy himself, they found ropes, a saw, an awl, and the various body parts of one man and eight woman, reports TheNYT. Severed heads, among the other detached limbs, were located in vessels like cold-storage containers, some of which were blanketed with cat litter.

Certain reports, like that of Kyodo News, say the suspect may have been working as a recruiter for a sex-related business in Tokyo’s red-light district, and sexually assaulted some of the female victims “with the intent to rape them.”

At one point, after Shiraishi invited the respective women to come to his home alone and then allegedly killed them, a boyfriend started investigating his partner’s whereabouts.

“If the man reported her missing to the police, I thought I would be suspected, so I killed him,” the suspect reportedly admitted to authorities. Police eventually detected that Shiraishi was behind the missing women after a brother of one reported her absent weeks before. Investigators looked through her Twitter account, which showed that she published a post saying she was “looking for someone who will die with me” and was directly conversing with Shiraishi.

The suspect described to police that he responded to the woman’s public emotional appeal by writing “Let’s die together,” according to Kyodo News.

Japan, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, has increased online monitoring efforts in recent years to prevent the taking of one’s own life, like surveying message boards for depressed people, among other initiatives.

Japan’s low-crime and high-suicide rates make it all the more intriguing for the country, as such a gruesome atrocity is not very common, and features the exploitation of the suicidally-inclined.

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