A murder investigation is underway after six bodies – including that of an elementary school-aged girl – were found with knife wounds inside a remote farmhouse in Japan.
Miyazaki prefectural police discovered the bodies – believed to be members of the same family – after receiving a call from a concerned relative from another town.
Officials said the relative had repeatedly tried to reach the family, but his calls had gone unanswered.
Officials said they found the body of a woman outside and then the bodies of two men, another woman, a boy and a young girl inside the farmhouse, the Japan Times reported.
All but one of the six bodies found at the house were usual residents at the address, Kyodo News reported.
Police said a seventh body was discovered sometime later in a nearby river below the bridge. The body belonged to an unidentified man who had apparently fled in the family’s car, police said.
It’s unclear if the person found in the river jumped or fell from the nearby bridge.
The house was owned by Yasuo Iihoshi, 72. Police are attempting to identify the body to see if any belong to Iihoshi, his wife or their adult son’s family. Autopsies are being conducted.
Police told the Japan Times they believe the body found in the river may have been Lihoshi's son.
The apparent murder in the remote mountain village sparked fear, and town officials urged residents to use caution and pick up their children at school after class, Kyodo News reported.
The area is near Takachiho valley, a popular tourist destination in southern Japan known for scenic rice terraces.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.