AICHI (TR) – Aichi Prefectural Police revealed on Thursday that a missing woman whose body was found buried in the mountains of Shiga Prefecture earlier this week was likely killed on the day she went missing in June, a crime possibly motivated by an attempt to gain the victim’s virtual currency bitcoin, reports the Chunichi Shimbun (Aug. 3).
On Tuesday, Ichiya Nishida, a 20-year-old resident of Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture, and an 18-year-old boy from Shiga, were prosecuted for allegedly burying the body of Miyuki Noda, 53, in a forested area of the town of Taga.
On June 18, Noda disappeared following a seminar about selling food products and cosmetics over the internet in Kasugai City, Aichi. After the event, she told participants that she was going to meet an acquaintance. That night, she was seen boarding a vehicle registered to Nishida at JR Ogaki Station in Gifu.
In newly released information, messages to Noda’s Line account on her smartphone stopped being marked as “read” about two hours after she boarded the vehicle. As well, it is known that Nishida returned to Gifu the following morning without Noda. Police believe that she was killed shortly after she entered the vehicle.
According to a previous report, Nishida met Noda at a seminar about virtual currencies. Prior to his arrest, he had been undergoing voluntary questioning in the case. On Sunday, police found Noda’s smartphone and bag during a search of the vehicle and residence of Nishida. Her body was found buried in the mountains at a depth of between one and two meters on the following day.
The results of an autopsy revealed the cause of death of Noda to be respiratory failure brought about by pressure applied to the neck, police said.
Police expect to apply murder and robbery charges to the suspects.
In early July, Nishida is believed to have posed as Noda online in obtaining the virtual currency bitcoin owned by her and valued at more than 100,000 yen. Police suspect that Noda was killed for financial gain.
According to Nikkan Sports (Aug. 2), Nishida told investigators that he was having financial trouble related to the virtual currency, whose value has fluctuated wildly in recent months.
According to the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan, the number of victims targeted in get-rich-quick marketing schemes involving virtual currencies has exploded over the past three years.
The schemes typically recruit attendees by claiming to provide the know-how to boost an initial investment substantially over a short period through virtual currencies, such as bitcoin. Problems arise when the returns are not realized and since attendees recruit other members to attend in exchange for remuneration, making the operations akin to pyramid schemes.