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article imageChilean suspect in Japanese student disappearance faces prosecutors

By AFP     Apr 17, 2019 in World

Chilean authorities on Wednesday questioned a man suspected of involvement in the 2016 disappearance of his Japanese ex-girlfriend in France.

Nicolas Zepeda was interviewed by the public prosecutor in Santiago on Wednesday morning before leaving the Justice Center just after midday without speaking to reporters, AFP journalists said.

He is the only suspect in the disappearance of student Narumi Kurosaki, then 21, in eastern France.

Chilean prosecutors met with French investigators on Tuesday ahead of Zepeda's questioning. Attorney General Tania Sanchez said only that proceedings had been carried out at the request of French authorities.

France is hoping to provide sufficient evidence to see Zepeda arrested and extradited to face a murder charge.

A Chilean judge had previously denied a request to arrest and extradite Zepeda, citing insufficient evidence.

Kurosaki had been living in the university city of Besancon in eastern France when she disappeared on the night of December 4, 2016, and despite extensive searches her body has not been found.

Investigators in France believe 28-year-old Zepeda, who had broken up with Kurosaki several months earlier, suffocated her in a jealous rage.

He returned to Chile before French police issued an arrest warrant.

Kurosaki was last seen hours before her disappearance having dinner with Zepeda in a restaurant in Ornans, near Besancon.

Fellow students in her dormitory reported hearing terrified cries and banging noises later that same night, Besancon public prosecutor Etienne Manteuax said in November.

No trace of blood was ever found in Kurosaki's room and Zepeda denies any involvement in her disappearance.

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