OKINAWA (TR) – Okinawa Prefectural Police have announced that an examination of material found in the vehicle of a former U.S. serviceman matches that of a 20-year-old woman who had been reported missing, reports Ryukyu Shimpo (May 19).
On Thursday, police said that a DNA analysis of material taken from the vehicle of Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a 32-year-old former member of the U.S. Marine Corps, proved to be a match with that of Rina Shimabukuro, a resident of Uruma City. Police suspect that it is her body that was discovered on that same day in a grove of trees in the village of Onna.
The location of the body was revealed during questioning of Shinzato, a resident of the town of Yonabaru. He had initially denied being involved in Shimabukuro’s disappearance. Police subsequently arrested the former Marine on charges of abandoning a corpse.
At around 8:00 p.m. on April 28, Shimabukuro, a company employee, informed her boyfriend via the smartphone application Line that she was headed out for a walk. After she did not return, her boyfriend reported her missing with police the following day.
During the investigation, police learned that Shimabukuro’s smartphone stopped transmitting data between one and three kilometers from her residence, an area that includes a number of factories. A Line message sent by her boyfriend was confirmed as read by her phone about four hours after her last correspondence.
After an examination of security camera footage in the area at the time of her disappearance, the vehicle belonging to Shinzato, who is currently a civilian employed at Kadena Air Base, came under scrutiny. Police began examining Shinzato’s vehicle on Wednesday.
Police are now working to confirm that the corpse is indeed that of Shimabukuro.