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Man found dead in river to be accused of murder of female acquaintance

NIIGATA (TR) – Niigata Prefectural Police plan to accuse a man found dead in a river in August of killing a female acquaintance who went missing in Niigata City earlier that month, reports Nippon News Network (Sept. 19).

On August 18, police found the body of Masaki Takahashi, 36, lying face-up in a riverbed in a mountainous area of Onibushi City. The body did not exhibit any external wounds, police said at the time.

The cause of death of Takahashi has not been revealed.

Takahashi had been sought in connection with the death of Aimi Tani, 24, whose corpse was found by an off-road motorcyclist on a mountain trail in Tokamachi City on the afternoon of August 11. In addition to receiving several stab wounds, including that from a knife found plunged in the back, she had also been bound with a rope.

On Wednesday, police planned to send papers on Takahashi to prosecutors on suspicion of murder. The suspect had previously been accused of attempted murder in a separate case, police said.

Last seen on August 1

Tani was last seen leaving her residence in Chuo Ward, Niigata City on the morning of August 1. At around that time, security camera footage captured her in the presence of Takahashi in Niigata City. As well, police discovered that the suspect purchased a knife and other equipment in Tokamachi.

Aimi Tani
Aimi Tani (Twitter)

On August 4, Tani’s father lodged a missing persons report with police. The following day, her mobile phone was traced to Tokamachi.

At some point in early August, Takahashi attempted suicide. He was later discharged from the hospital after receiving treatment. His whereabouts became unknown starting on August 6.

Nine days later, police found his vehicle in Onibushi about 400 meters away from where they would later find his body. A note found in the vehicle, believed to have been addressed to Tani, hinted at suicide. “It was great to get to know you,” it read, police said.