Last month, Chiba Prefectural Police found the body of Manae Noguchi, 18, buried on a farm in Shibayama, Narita City. Her whereabouts had been unknown for nearly one week.
Since the grisly discovery, police have arrested four suspects for the abduction and confinement of Noguchi.
Now, says Shukan Jitsuwa (May 14-21), debt accumulated by Noguchi may have played a role in the crime.
The victim was last seen getting into a rented car in Chiba City’s Chuo Ward at around 10:00 p.m. on April 19. It was later determined that the occupants of the vehicle were the four suspects.
“Two days later, an anonymous male provided a tip to police that indicated Noguchi had run up a large amount of debt, and that’s what got the investigation going,” says a reporter at the local news desk of a national paper.
On April 23, a 16-year-old male construction worker and an 18-year-old girl were arrested. Shota Nakano and Yuki Ide, both of whom are 20-year-old males, were arrested the following day. Police used testimony from Nakano to find Noguchi’s body.
The results of an autopsy performed on the corpse of Noguchi, a runaway from Funabashi City, revealed the cause of death to be suffocation. The body, which had no external wounds, was discovered at a depth of over one meter, and police suspect that she was buried alive.
“There was no disturbance to her clothing,” an investigator tells the magazine. “However, she was found squatting upright on the soles of her feet, and adhesive tape was wrapped around her mouth. A bag was also over her head.”
According to other reports, Noguchi had bounced around as a employee at soapland bathhouses in Chiba City’s Sakaecho district to fund her attempts at winning the affections of a nightclub host. Yet her expenditures exceeded her income, and she piled up a substantial debt — and a number of creditors.
One of Noguchi’s lenders was the 18-year-old suspect, who is a former classmate going back to middle school.
“As to the other three suspects, they were unknown to the victim,” says a local news reporter. “Nakano and Ide both have work experience at a host club in Chiba City. It was at that club that Noguchi had run up a lot of debt.”
Noguchi, the youngest of four girls, had run away from home while in high school. According to a neighbor, she had been a model child until something changed.
“At a young age, she was a caring child, always looking out for the other children,” says the neighbor. “Around the time she was enrolled in middle school, she became very adept at karate, and performed well in tournaments — a point of great pride for her parents. However, just before she graduated her style of dress became more flashy, and there was a sense that something had changed in her.” (K.N.)
Source: “Kyu tenkai shita Chiba Funabashi yukue fumei jiken 18-sai shojo o dochu made oitsumeta waru shudan,” Shukan Jitsuwa (May 14-21, page 50)