SHIZUOKA (TR) – Shizuoka Prefectural Police on Tuesday revealed that a third suspect wanted in connection with a woman whose body was found in a forest in Fujieda City earlier this month has been confirmed dead in an apparent suicide, reports TBS News (June 19).
At a press conference, police confirmed that Toyofumi Akutagawa, 39, was found dead inside a hotel in Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture on June 15. Though the cause of death was not revealed, police said the case is being ruled as a suicide.
Police had previously arrested Mitsuru Suzuki, 42, and Motoki Ito, 28, on suspicion of abducting Mayuko Uchiyama, a 29-year-old nurse from Hamamatsu City. On June 9, a search team looking for Uchiyama found the body later confirmed to belong to her along a mountain road in the Setonoya area of Fujieda.
Police have not disclosed if the cause of death has been determined.
Uchiyama went missing on May 26. Three days later, her family lodged a missing persons report with police.
An examination of security camera footage showed Uchiyama being abducted into her own vehicle by several men at a parking lot of a gym in Hamamatsu on the night of May 26.
The vehicle was later found in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture. Based on an examination of data from the vehicle’s onboard navigational system, police began searching areas where it traveled.
During questioning, Suzuki and Ito said that they were not acquainted with the victim or one another prior to the crime. The suspects said that they responded to a message about a money-making opportunity posted on a yami (underground) site.
Regarding the abandoning of the body of Uchiyama, both suspects denied involvement, police said, according to the Mainichi Shimbun (June 15).
Police believe that Akutagawa, a native of Niigata, was the mastermind behind the crime.