AICHI (TR) – Aichi Prefectural Police have arrested a 78-year-old woman in Toyokawa City over the murder of her husband and concealment of his corpse for more than two decades, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 3).
On around March 20, 1996, Asae Koike allegedly used a knife to fatally slash the head of her husband, 59-year-old Takashi, at their residence at the time in the Ushikuboekidori area.
The suspect then sealed the body inside an air-tight bag that was stored inside a clothing case in her residence, according to the Toyokawa Police Station.
Police arrested Koike on Wednesday. Two days later, she was sent to prosecutors at the Nagoya District Public Prosecutor’s Office on suspicion of murder.
The suspect admits to the allegations, saying she was the victim of domestic violence. “He got violent with me,” she was quoted, according to the Mainichi Shimbun (Feb. 1).
On January 22, 2017, Koike confessed to police that the body of her husband was inside the clothing case. Police arriving at the residence found skeletal remains that were later confirmed as belonging to Takashi in the case, which had been placed in a closet.
According to the results of an autopsy, Takashi died due to shock resulting from loss of blood. The examiner also found about 10 stab wounds to the head.
Restrict the escape of foul odors
Although there was evidence that the corpse was moved to conceal it, police also found that the movements were restricted to within the residence. The plastic bag was used to restrict the escape of foul odors, police said.
Police believe that Koike carried out the murder herself. However, it is also speculated that members of her family, including her oldest son, who was present upon the arrival of police at the residence last year, assisted in covering up the crime.
According to TV Asahi (Feb. 2), an employee from the Toyokawa City office arrived at the residence to present Takashi with a cash gift, which is typically provided on a person’s 77th or 88th birthday. The son told the employee, “My father does not live here.”
Local media reported that Koike told neighbors that her husband had “disappeared” when asked about his whereabouts. Police are now investigating how the crime remained concealed for more than two decades.
In 2010, the Criminal Procedure Code was amended such that the statute of limitations for murder has been eliminated.