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Osaka police confirm identity of victim in corpse-dismemberment case

Sawako Watanabe
Sawako Watanabe

OSAKA (TR) – As a part of investigation into a corpse-dismemberment case in which a 29-year-old woman has been arrested, Osaka Prefectural Police announced on Sunday that the results of a DNA analysis confirmed that human remains found at an apartment in Kadoma City are that of a missing woman, reports NHK (Jan. 3).

Police have identified the human remains found in the bathroom and freezer of Terumi Morishima, an illustrator, are that of Sawako Watanabe, 25, who was reported missing on Christmas Day.

On December 29, police searched the apartment of Morishima and found a skull and other body parts inside the bathroom and a freezer. She was subsequently arrested on charges of destruction and abandoning a corpse.

Investigative sources later revealed that Morishima had purchased a freezer, a saw, polyethylene bags and a bucket at a hardware store in Kadoma on December 25.

Under questioning, Morishima said that she and Watanabe had been planning to hold a Christmas party at her residence. “After I left the apartment and returned, I found (Watanabe) collapsed and not breathing,” the suspect is quoted by police. “I then cut up her body to conceal it.”

On December 25, Watanabe’s father told police that he had been unable to reach her daughter since the day before. Police then found that approximately 100,000 yen had been withdrawn from her bank account.

Between August and the end of November, Morishima lived with Watanabe at a shared-living facility located about 300 meters away from the apartment.

Police also found more body parts inside a closet at the facility.

The results of an autopsy conducted on the remains revealed that the victim likely died due to suffocation.