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Japanese astronomer slain during robbery in Chile

Friday - 5/11/2012, 5:33pm  ET

By LUIS ANDRES HENAO
Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Chilean authorities say a prominent Japanese astronomer who helped develop the international ALMA observatory in Chile has been found slain.

Police in Santiago say 57-year-old Koichiro Morita died from a blow to the head struck by a robber who took his wallet and cellphone early Friday.

A suspect described by authorities has having a long criminal record has been ordered by a Chilean judge to be held for three months pending a murder investigation.

ALMA executive Paulina Boca says Morita was instrumental in creating the observatory on a high plateau in northern Chilean. Scientists come from all over the world to gaze deeper into space than any other telescope could do before.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)