Some bodies were found stuffed in drums, while others were discovered buried under the floorboards of a home in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. Sumida, 64, eventually committed suicide in her detention cell in December.
Now, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (May 1), a similar case is unfolding in Fukuoka.
On April 11, Fukuoka Prefectural Police arrested Shinya Nakao, the 47-year-old manager of a used goods shop in Chikugo City, and his 45-year-old wife, Chisa, on theft charges.
The pair are alleged to have forged three bank cards in the name of an acquaintance, and, between October of 2007 and November of last year, withdrawn 530,000 yen from ATM machines on multiple occasions.
“Then rumors about missing people began to surface,” says a local news reporter.
With added staff members assigned to the case, officers searched the shop, Nakao’s residence and the home of his parents.
With the aid of police sniffer dogs, investigators dug up the garden on the property of the shop. “It’s clear they were searching for bodies,” says the aforementioned reporter.
The rumors began last year, when a local news report said that the daughter of the suspects was missing. Her safety was soon after confirmed.
However, more questions began to surface. Nakao had been burdened with a substantial debt, largely due to gambling. According to Tokyo Sports (Apr. 15), both suspects and a number of relatives declared bankruptcy between 1998 and 2002.
The home of his parents was subsequently put up for auction, with the winning bid going to a relative, who now rents the residence to the parents. Loan collectors appeared at the home of his parents on a daily basis. In April of 2003, the couple started the used goods shop.
“He entered the used goods business to pay off the debt,” says a friend of the family.
Employees who worked to collect used items to sell stayed overnight in the store. But, according to Tokyo Sports, the environment around the shop took on the appearance of the Amagasaki case, with Nakao and his wife possessing absolute power over the staff members.
In one case, according to the Mainichi Shimbun (Apr. 13), a man was pressed into taking out consumer loans and giving the money to the suspects under the pretext that he “was a burden.” The employee was later falsely accused of theft after he retired and his relatives paid the couple a large sum of money.
Over the past three years, Nakao has encountered further debt problems.
Police believe that about five people connected to the couple are potential victims in this case. “While the investigation continues, police are moving quickly to confirm their whereabouts,” says another reporter to Shukan Jitsuwa. (K.N.)
Source: “Fukuoka risaikuru shoppu keizei fufu shui ni fumeisha zokushutu no nazo,” Shukan Jitsuwa (May 1, page 44)
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