Miyoko Sumida, 64, had been the primary suspect in a string of mysterious deaths that surfaced primarily in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture over the past two years until she committed suicide in her detention cell in December.
She is alleged to have enlisted the help of multiple members of her family and acquaintances in the confinement and eventual killing of numerous people.
The body of 66-year-old Kazuko Oe was found stuffed inside a drum stored in the aforementioned warehouse in 2011. Other victims met equally gruesome fates.
On February 3, Hyogo and Kagawa prefectural police forces re-arrested seven relatives of Sumida on manslaughter and imprisonment charges related to the death of 29-year-old Mariko Nakashima. The group had previously been taken into custody in the death of Jiro Hashimoto, 53, whose body was found inside a drum that was pulled from the bottom of Hinase Harbor in Bizen, Okayama Prefecture last October.
Indeed, the Sumida family has (and continues to have) numerous problems, but as the quotation at the top implies — spoken by a person affiliated with the clan — money is not one of them, or so believes weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Feb. 28).
A friend of suspect Yutaro Sumida says the 26-year-old routinely walked around with a bulging wallet. “When he took it out to buy me dinner,” says the acquaintance, “I was astonished to see that it contained 400,000 to 500,000 yen. He said, ‘The dinner is on me as I won big at pachinko.'”
Miyoko is said to have fawned over her grandchild born by the spouse of Yutaro, Rui, 27, who is also in custody.
The same friend had spoken to a babysitter for the child. “At the convenience store, the kid wanted to buy so many items, withh the total price coming to 5,000 yen. The child said that its grandmother used to get these same items each time they went.”
At the fourth hearing on January 28 at Amagasaki branch of the Kobe District Court, suspect Mieko Sumida, 59, the sister-in-law of Miyoko, offered some clues as to the state of her finances.
“While the household’s monthly income was between 500,000 and 700,000 yen, spending was typically around 1.2 or 1.3 million yen,” she said. “I had about 30 million yen in debt, but I paid about 20 million yen of that through funds I received from a relative.”
The tabloid says that at the same time Miyoko was all about buying brand bags while Yutaro was collecting premier alcohols and drinking glasses.
Mieko and Rui had earlier been charged with stealing 3.7 million yen in pension money from the 88-year-old grandmother of the wife of the son of Miyoko. Further, Mieko’s debt funding came via a life insurance policy paid out after a highly questionable death in Okinawa.
It is clear, Shukan Jitsuwa says, that the family’s lavish spending came at the expense of others. (A.T.)
Source: “Amagasaki jiken kadota Miyoko no dora musuko Yutaro yogisha no shirarezaru kinman sugao,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Feb. 28, page 44)
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