A Japanese woman was arrested Tuesday after police say she confessed to putting four newborns in concrete-filled buckets two decades ago and having been filled with guilt over not caring for her babies. Human remains were identified via imaging in four buckets found in her condominium, an Osaka police official said, per the AP.
Mayumi Saito, 53, was arrested on charges of abandoning bodies a day after she turned herself in at the police station. The causes of the babies’ deaths were unclear, though the Ashai Shimbun quotes her as telling police, “I placed them in buckets and poured in cement.” Saito was quoted as saying did so from 1992 through 1997 because she had been too poor to raise the children.
“I don’t think [her former boyfriend, the babies’ father] was aware of what I did,” she is quoted as having told investigators. “I brought the buckets to my current residence with my other belongings when I moved” in 2015. Japanese media reports quoted Saito as saying she had no one to talk to or turn to.
She reportedly said her guilt led her to contemplate suicide, but “I couldn’t … leave my son who I live with behind.” She reportedly has another son as well. Although Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, poverty remains a problem, especially among women. Saito reportedly had a part-time job, but further details weren’t available.