Gently cradling a rabbit is how a former classmate remembers tragic young Aiko Tamura, while struggling to reconcile that innocent image with those of the horrific scene where she was found dead.

Choked up with tears, the classmate wondered how Tamura had ended up as a victim in the case in which nine dismembered bodies were found in an apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture.

“I wonder how scared she must have been to be killed if she just went to the suspect’s home to seek help for her soul,” said her former classmate of an elementary school in Koshu, Yamanashi Prefecture. “She might have kept so much anguish to herself that she got caught up in the incident.”

Takahiro Shiraishi, 27, was arrested on Oct. 31 on suspicion of abandoning a body after the gruesome discovery of severed body parts, including the heads, legs and arms, of nine people in coolers and storage boxes at his apartment.

Tamura, 23, was the first victim to be named on Nov. 6. Her identification was made possible thanks to her brother’s tweet, which he used in his search for the missing woman, prompting a response from a female Twitter user that led to a breakthrough in the case.

DNA samples taken from Tamura’s toothbrush matched with a body found in the apartment in Zama, according to the police.

The suspect admitted killing Tamura and told police that he “assaulted Tamura after talking to her in a room of his apartment for a while,” according to investigative sources.

Shiraishi reportedly admitted killing all nine victims and explained to police that he dismembered the bodies in his bathroom.

The suspect is said to have “searched how to kill a human and dismember the body by using his smartphone in advance.”

Shiraishi is quoted by police as saying that he purchased “a saw, billhook and ropes in the middle of August.”

The Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo will continue to investigate Shiraishi also on suspicion of murder over the coming days. They suspect Shiraishi planned to kill his victims and dismember their bodies before he moved to his apartment on Aug. 22.

Shiraishi exchanged tweets with victims, including Tamura, who posted their own tweets of suicidal thoughts. He pretended to be suicidal himself and invited them to his apartment.

He said he killed the victims for their money and wanted an easy life, according to police sources.

Shiraishi said he let his first victim, a woman, transfer 500,000 yen ($4,380) to his account. However, his statements were inconsistent, and so police are carefully searching for corroborating evidence.

Referring to the other eight victims, the police received a lead on the identity of a missing 26-year-old woman from Saitama Prefecture, investigative sources said.

Police have information on three missing female high school students aged between 15 and 17 in Gunma, Fukushima and Saitama prefectures, as well as a 19-year-old female university student from Saitama Prefecture and a 25-year-old woman from Kanagawa Prefecture.

In addition, it also has information regarding a man aged 20 and his female acquaintance aged 21, both from Kanagawa Prefecture.