The 46-year-old suspect is a neighbor of the girl and DNA samples obtained from the site matched those of his, investigators say.
Japanese police have arrested a man on suspicion of abandoning the body of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl last month in Chiba Prefecture, Japan’s sole public broadcaster NHK reported.
Read – 9-year-old Vietnamese girl found dead in Japan
The case has caught public attention in Vietnam after news reports in Japan said the naked body of Le Thi Nhat Linh, a third-year elementary school student, was found in the grass near a drainage canal in the city of Abiko on March 26.
Investigators said DNA samples obtained from the site matched those of the 46-year-old suspect, who lives near Linh’s house, NHK said. He was taken in on Friday morning.
Linh went missing after she left home for school in neighboring Matsudo City. Her body was discovered two days later.
What are believed to be her school bag and clothes were found on the river bed of the Tone River, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from her body, the NHK report said.
Last month Chiba police said results of an autopsy revealed that Linh likely died due to suffocation caused by strangulation. She also had small injuries on her arms and legs.
Police in Abiko City earlier advised the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan that the preliminary autopsy had found signs of sexual abuse on the girl’s body.
In a March report, NHK said Linh had told one of her classmates that she had seen a suspicious man on the way to school in January and that she felt scared. It’s not immediately clear if the police are following this lead.
Linh’s school is a 10-minute walk from her home, and like many children in the area, she usually went on her own.