How time flies sometimes. It has now been two years since the naked body of Lindsay Ann Hawker was found in a bathtub on the balcony of Tatsuyo Ichihashi, with the suspect managing to run barefoot past nine police officers who went to his apartment, and then evading them on foot. This story made headlines back in the UK straight away but it was only after foreign media became heavily involved that this story started to get mentioned by the Japanese media. Interestingly, the Japanese Wikipedia article on Hawker still does not include Ichihashi’s by name, referring to only “the suspect”.
I predicted then that there was very little chance of the Japanese police catching this guy, and so it has proved until now. In the past ten days the police chief in the case has been replaced for reasons not made public. Coincidence or not, this change in staff came just days after he gave an interview with the BBC’s Inside Out program. One wonders if people above him deemed his defense of the police officers at the time was seen as inadequate in some way. He was quoted as saying, “”At the stage that the investigators went to Tatsuya Ichihashi’s apartment it was still not clear that he was involved in this incident and it was not clear that she (Lindsay) was already murdered.” That does make you wonder then why nine armed officers were dispatched to his apartment, if they were just making an enquiry into a missing person’s report.
Hawker’s family are back in Japan once again as we approach the March 27th anniversary of her death, and are asking the police to increase their efforts to find Ichihashi. The police’s attempts to show they are working on this case are, at best, laughable. Previously they have made posters showing what Ichihashi might look like if he dressed up as a woman. The most recent thing is now a cardboard cutout of Ichihashi to be placed in train stations around Tokyo which, if a button is pressed, will produce a grainy rendition of his voice. The police have offered a reward for Ichihashi’s capture, but Y1m ($ 10,000) does seem a pretty paltry amount.
The reaction of people has been something to behold too. Police have stated that they have visited many restaurants and adult entertainment facilities (no sniggering at the back) and inquired about him. At one such bar, the owner told police, “I heard rumors that he is staying at (a gay bar in) Shinjuku Ward.” That is some information, but if the police hadn’t gone there then for all intents and purposes this guy would have not come forward. He would have just kept the rumours of sightings and whereabouts to himself.
And now, just as the Hawker family return to Tokyo to search for Ichihashi, a journalist has revealed to the Telegraph newspaper that Ichihashi’s father may have killed himself. The story states that getting information on whether this is true or not is difficult, although the media seem to have no problem reporting names when it is any other person who has killed themself. What gets you thinking in this story is that the suspected suicide was back in September, yet has been kept quiet until Hawker’s family are back in Japan. A sceptic might consider that the story was kept quiet until a time when it may be useful to provide some sympathy for the family of the suspect, who have been forced to undergo extreme hardship after their son has been made a suspect in a murder enquiry. Saying that though, I think his arrest warrant is still only for abandoning a body, as obviously he might not have killed the girl on his balcony in his bathtub filled with sand.
I’d like to report an update and possibly an arrest very soon, but I think it will probably be another year before this story takes up any more column inches in Japan.
Read more at Big in Japan: http://soldave.ismysite.co.uk/biginjapan