Vancouver cops building murder case after Japanese woman’s body found

Police investigating whether Natsumi Kogawa met suspect at English conversation cafe

Natsumi Kogawa (left) and William Victor Schneider
Security camera footage shows Natsumi Kogawa (left) and William Victor Schneider

VANCOUVER, CANADA (TR) – Vancouver police are seeking to apply murder charges to a 48-year-old Canadian male in custody after the body of a missing Japanese woman was found last week, reports TBS News (Oct. 2).

Police are building a murder case against William Schneider, who was seen on security camera footage in the presence of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, within a few hours of the time she last made known contact with an acquaintance.

On September 29, police arrested Schneider on suspicion of indignity to a human body. The evening before, police found the body of Kogawa inside a historic mansion in Vancouver that is currently vacant.

English conversation cafe

As a part of the investigation, Vancouver police are attempting to determine whether a cafe where foreign exchange students practice English conversation is where Kogawa got to know Schneider, according to Fuji News Network (Oct. 2).

According to the report, Kogawa practiced English at the cafe while the suspect often utilized it as a chance to hit on Japanese women. A regular said that Schneider “was often hitting on girls. He seemed to have no interest in men.”

The witness also saw Schneider try to hit on a group of Japanese women who were at the cafe studying English. “When I asked the Japanese girl if she was all right, she said [Schneider] was always like that,” the witness said. “Rather than taking part [in the English study group] he seemed to be more about going there for coffee and then hitting on any girls that happen to be there.”

Victim’s mother “can’t believe it”

Police have confirmed that Schneider is the same person shown in security camera footage released last week. The footage, taken at around 1:30 p.m. on September 8, shows Kogawa talking to a man in jeans and a baseball cap.

Kogawa, a native of Aomori Prefecture, had been studying in Vancouver since May. A friend was last able to contact her via the smartphone application Line on September 8 at around 11:20 a.m. Four days later, a missing persons report was filed with police.

“I can’t believe it,” Kogawa’s mother is quoted by TV Asahi (Oct. 2). “She was a gentle daughter who cared about her family.”

The time and cause of Kogawa’s death will be determined by an autopsy set for Monday, according to Vancouver police.

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