Photo/IllutrationAn apartment building in Osaka’s Nishinari Ward where a severed human head was found on Feb. 24 (Hidemasa Yoshizawa)

  • Photo/Illustraion

A 26-year-old American tourist already in custody after a woman went missing is being questioned in connection with a severed human head found inside a suitcase left in an apartment in Osaka on Feb. 24, police said.

Yevgeniy Vasilievich Bayraktar was arrested on Feb. 22 on suspicion of locking up a woman from Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, in an apartment room in Osaka’s Higashinari Ward. The apartment was used for private lodging.

Bayraktar, who resides in New York, came to Japan in January for sightseeing, according to investigative sources.

The Sanda woman, a 27-year-old worker, has been missing since Feb. 16.

The discovery of a woman’s head in an apartment used as lodging for travelers in Osaka’s Nishinari Ward came as investigators at the Hyogo prefectural police were questioning Bayraktar on suspicion of confining the woman. The apartment was searched as the suspect had booked it.

The neighborhood the apartment is located in is known for a number of apartments and private homes used as inexpensive lodging.

The suspect denies the allegation and refuses to answer questions, according to the sources.

Police are trying to establish the identity of the woman whose head was found.

The whereabouts of the Sanda woman became unknown after she left her office on Feb. 15 and headed to Osaka.

Before the woman went missing, she told a friend that she planned to meet a man that she became acquainted with at a social networking site, according to the sources.

Security camera footage showed the woman and a man who is believed to be Bayraktar meeting at a location near JR Morinomiya Station in Osaka around midnight that day and entering the apartment building in Higashinari Ward together.

That was the only time when the woman was captured by a surveillance camera near the apartment site.

The footage also showed the man leaving the building alone several times. He repeatedly entered and left the building carrying a large bag, according to the sources.

It became impossible to locate the woman as the battery on her mobile phone went dead afterward.

Bayraktar arrived at the Kansai International Airport planning to sightsee in Japan for up to 90 days, which does not require a visa.

He was staying in Osaka from Feb. 12 and booked the room for about a week, the sources said.

The woman’s relatives reported her disappearance to police on Feb. 17.

Bayraktar was taken into custody in Nara Prefecture on Feb. 22.

A 23-year-old man from the United States who checked into another unit in the apartment building the same day where the severed head was found expressed bafflement.

The man said he booked the room online since it was inexpensive.

A Japanese man who lives in the neighborhood expressed concern that the incident could adversely affect the number of tourists.