TOYAMA (TR) – The discovery on Wednesday of the corpses likely belonging to two girls who went missing more than two decades ago was aided by witness testimony that said their vehicle plunged into the sea, police said, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 4).
At around noon, a crane pulled the vehicle containing the skeletal remains believed to be those of Narumi Takumi and Megumi Yashiki, both 19-year-old when they went missing, off the seabed and onto a dock at Fushiki Port in Imizu City.
In addition to the remains, investigators found a credit card for a gasoline station with the name Yashiki Megumi.
Police are still seeking to confirm the identities of the remains. The case is being treated as an accident.
Wrote via pager
At around 9:00 p.m. on May 5, 1996, the girls, both residents of Himi City, told their families that they were heading Uozu City inside Yashiki’s vehicle.
They were last heard from when Takumi wrote via pager to an acquaintance, “We are going to Uozu.”
Two days later, their families reported them missing. The following March, when they both would have become adults, Toyama Prefectural Police released their names publicly.
Himi is located about 13 kilometers from Fushiki Port. Depending on the route taken, their destination, Uozu, is an additional 40 to 50 kilometers further.
For years, police had no clues. However, at the end of 2014, police learned about the existence of witnesses.
After further investigation, police located the three witnesses and interviewed them this past January. “A car with two women dropped from a parking lot into the sea near [what was then] Kaiomaru Park at midnight of a major holiday in 1996,” one of the witnesses said.
Surveys that included the use of metal detectors and divers were then conducted. After locating the vehicle at a depth of about 8 meters, it was decided that it would be raised on Wednesday.
A team of 35 persons gathered on the dock at 7:00 a.m. Five hours later, the vehicle, wrapped in blue seats, was placed on the back of a truck.
“Such a cold place”
“It was so long ago,” said the 60-year-old mother of Yashiki. “I had a hope that she was doing fine and living somewhere else, so I was puzzled to learn of the discovery of the car. I feel sorry that [she existed] in such a cold place for so long.”
Her mother added that the girls were going to an abandoned onsen hot springs resort when they disappeared. She remembers her daughter as being gentle, one who helped in the kitchen.
“Why did her car drop into the sea?” her mother asked. “I’ll have to wait for the results of the investigation.”