On May 20 at approximately 6:20 p.m., emergency personnel were summoned to an apartment in the Lions Mansion Shinjuku building in Shinjuku Ward.
Upon arrival, workers found the collapsed body of Taeko Hashimoto, 31, lying atop a futon smeared in vomit and excrement. In addition to the numerous cigarette burns on her swollen face, she also had a number of red burn marks on her arms.
Personnel on the scene determined that Hashimoto was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. She was transported to a nearby hospital but died the next morning.
On the next day, officers arrested the three female occupants of the unit, Kaori Seki, 26, Manami Takahashi, 20, Kana Shinozuka, 20, on manslaughter charges. A search of the apartment revealed three metal pipes, a hair curling iron and a razor.
According to Shukan Jitsuwa (June 12), the three suspects, all acquaintances of the victim, are employees at an escort service that specializes in overweight prostitutes — yet another development in an attack that was broadcast live on the Internet.
The contract for the apartment is in the name of the manager of a “fashion health” business, in which the employees who administer oral and hand services dress in a number of costumes.
“The three girls worked out of and lived in the unit,” says a local news reporter.
During the course of the investigation, officers viewed security camera footage in which the victim and the suspects were seen in a group of people in Kabukicho on the morning of May 19. That evening the suspects and the victim were also viewed coming into the apartment.
It was this footage that revealed the participation of a fourth suspect, 43-year-old Kaori Katsumata. Officers found her walking the streets of Kabukicho on June 1 and arrested her, also on suspicion of manslaughter.
“I’ve been to that apartment, but I do not know anything about the incident,” Katsumata is quoted in denying the allegations. The other suspects have admitted to participating in the assault. “We beat her, kicked her and cut her with the razor,” the other suspects told police.
The incident was streamed live on the Internet with a smartphone. In the footage, Katsumata, also an employee in the sex industry, is seen joining the three suspects in beating Hashimoto with metal pipes.
As to a motive, Seki told police that Hashimoto had been spreading rumors about Katsumata. Police are now investigating whether Katsumata had directed the other suspects to participate in the assault.
Source: “Mojo shudan rinchi satsujin jiken herusu jo-tachi no debusen nakamaware no hate,” Shukan Jitsuwa (June 12, pages 220-221)
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