A 35 year old woman was given a suspended sentence on Tuesday after being convicted by the District Court in Oita Prefecture for dumping the body of her daughter in the woods. Yuko Emoto was arrested in February for leaving the body of 2 year old Kotone in the woods near her Hijimachi, Oita Prefecture home last September. Emoto is to serve two years, down from three, in prison.
The case received a lot of attention from the media and public, as Emoto claimed her daughter was abducted from her car in a parking lot. She told police that she left the two year old in the car’s child seat while she went into a supermarket for only five minutes. When she returned, Kotone was gone. Police conducted an expansive search for the girl that lasted for weeks, but nothing turned up. Finally in February Emoto confessed that on the morning of September 13th she discovered her daughter’s dead body underneath a blanket. She admitted that the story was a lie and that she had buried the body in the nearby mountains.
Prosecutors stated that the woman’s actions were foolish and reckless, and a lot of problems were caused for many people. While investigators couldn’t determine the exact cause of death due to the body’s decomposition, there was no evidence that the girl had been murdered by her mother. At no point did Emoto deny the charges against her, and she sincerely apologized to the court for what she’d done. As it was clear the woman regretted her actions, the ruling judge agreed with the defense’s appeals and gave the suspended sentence.
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