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Suspect in ’19 murder of couple found with sulfur, poison

IBARAKI (TR) – A 26-year-old man in custody over the alleged murder of a couple in the town of Sakai two years ago has been found to be in possession of large quantities of dangerous chemicals, police have revealed, reports the Sankei Shimbun (May 7).

On Friday, police accused Yoshiyuki Okaniwa, a resident of Misato City, Saitama Prefecture, of murder.

The suspect is alleged to have fatally stabbed Mitsunori Kobayashi, 48, and Miwa Kobayashi, 50, in their bedroom on the second floor of their residence early on September 23, 2019.

Police did not reveal whether he admits to the allegations.

The assailant also injured their son, then 13, and his sister, 11, in the hands. Another daughter, 21, was on the first floor at the time. She was unharmed.

Yoshiyuki Okaniwa (Twitter)

Bear repellent

Local residents told the Sankei that Okaniwa lives with his two parents and grandparents. The family is believed to be wealthy, maintaining a large collection of real estate.

Okaniwa’s residence is located about 30 kilometers from the Kobayshi home in Sakai. Since Okaniwa does not have a driver’s license, police do not know how he traveled to the crime scene.

During the attack, the assailant sprayed what was later determined to have been bear repellent on the younger daughter.

The results of the subsequent investigation revealed that Okaniwa had purchased bear repellent from a dealer prior to the attack.

In November, police searched the first floor of a building on Okaniwa’s property in Misato. During the search, investigators seized roughly 600 items, including 45 kilograms of sulfur, raw materials for the production of hydrogen sulfide, castor beans (containing the toxin ricin) and other chemicals.

The following month, Okaniwa was prosecuted for violating the Fire Services Act. In February, Ibaraki police also arrested him for forging three police badges.

Criminal record as a youth

Okaniwa’s criminal record goes back to when he was a youth. In 2011, police arrested the suspect, then 16, over two stabbing incidents in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures.

Two years later, a court ruled that he suffered from a “developmental disorder” and ordered that he undergo rehabilitation at a reform school, according to the site for weekly tabloid Friday.