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Akita murder-suicide case: Nothing seemed ‘unusual’ about woman

Outside the residence in Akita City
Outside the residence in Akita City
AKITA (TR) – The chief of Akita Prefecture’s childcare support department said on Tuesday that it would have been difficult predicting the attempted murder-suicide case on Monday where an unconscious mother was found next to her strangled daughter’s body.

Gen Tsuchida, the section chief of the prefecture’s childcare support department, said that “it would’ve been difficult to predict” the suspected murder-suicide case on Monday where the strangled body of Megumi Chiba, 9, was found next to her unconscious mother Chisako Chiba, 40, in an apartment in Akita City, the Mainichi Shimbun reports (June 21).

According to Tsuchida and other sources, the prefecture’s child consultation center determined that Megumi was facing a “difficult upbringing at home,” so she was admitted to an orphanage starting July 2011. She started attending Takashimizu Elementary School from the orphanage in 2013.

The child consultation center allowed Megumi to temporarily visit her home after observing her mother Chisako’s condition, and said the girl also stayed there for the Golden Week holidays in May.

The child consultation center filed a missing persons report with police on Monday after Megumi visited Chisako on Friday and still didn’t return.

“Whenever I went to pick up Megumi, there was nothing about her mother that seemed unusual,” an official at Megumi’s orphanage said. “I can’t believe it.”

Shunetsu Ecchuya, principal of Takashimizu elementary school, wrote in a letter addressed to her guardians, “Megumi was always bright, and even now I still remember how she would always greet me with so much energy.”

Murder suspect

Akita Prefectural Police discovered Megumi’s body in apartment room 101 in the Yabasenouma area of Akita City at around 4 p.m. on Monday.

Chisako was lying unconscious nearby in critical condition, and was rushed to a hospital.

Police said there were signs that pressure was applied to Megumi’s neck, and concluded the cause of death was suffocation.

An ongoing investigation is looking into the possibility that Chisako plotted to commit suicide after murdering Megumi.

Police will question Chisako as a murder suspect once she recovers.