One Month Since Murder Of British Woman in Ichikawa: No Leads on Suspect Ichihashi

Investigation HQ Increase Force to 150

One month has passed since the discovery of the body of British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker at a condominium in Ichikawa City. Meanwhile, the search for unemployed suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi continues.

Today, Gyotoku Prefectural Police Headquarters increased the investigating team from 100 officers to 150. Despite receiving 379 tips from the public since the beginning of the search until April 26th, Ichihashi's whereabouts remain unknown. (Tsuyoshi Terada) 1

Ichihashi escaped shortly after investigators questioned him at the entrance of his condominium suite at 9:40pm on the night of March 26th. Ichihashi was seen running toward Gyotoku Station on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Subway line, approximately 600m from the condominium.

Ichihashi lost both shoes while scaling the fence behind the condominium. His discarded socks were later found along the road leading to the station. Prefectural police pursued with scent sniffing dogs, but lost Ichihashi's trail. The bicycle used by Ichihashi to go to and from Gyotoku station was found parked at the station.

Inside Ichihashi's apartment, police found a garbage bag containing Hawker's clothes and an empty plastic bag of gardening sand, used to bury Hawker's body in a bathtub found on the balcony.

Ichihashi also dropped a backpack containing underwear when he encountered investigators in front of the building. Police believe Ichihashi was planning to destroy evidence and was preparing his escape before they arrived.

Gyotoku Police released two photos of Ichihashi as well as distributing 30,000 wanted posters. Police forces across Chiba Prefecture began concurrent investigations, including searches of moored pleasure boats along the Edogawa River, the Imperial Household Agency-run duck sanctuary 2 and detailed checks of residential areas, but Ichihashi's whereabouts remain unknown.

In the early stages of the investigation police offered over 20 updates a day, but recently there has been little new information. "As the climate becomes warmer, we plan to increase searches of outside areas where [Ichihashi] could easily dwell," stated Gyotoku Vice-Police Commissioner Takeshi Terajima.

Timeline of Lindsay Hawker Case

  • March 21st, early hours of the morning: Ichihashi enters Hawker's apartment uninvited 3 and demands private English lessons.

  • March 25th, approx. 8:55am: Ichihasi and Hawker meet at a café in front of Gyotoku station.

  • March 25th, 9:45am: Ichihashi and Hawker leave the café and head for Ichihashi's condominium.

  • Between March 25th and the morning of March 26th: Hawker is murdered and her body abandoned in a bathtub.

  • March 26th, approx. 3:30pm: A colleague of Hawker's files a missing person's report at Funabashi Police Station.

  • March 26th, evening: Ichihashi purchases a bag of sand (used to bury Hawker's body) at a home & garden center.

  • March 26th, approx. 9:40pm: Police question Ichihashi at the entrance of his condominium unit. After he escapes, police discover Hawker's body.

1 A reporter at Mainichi Newspaper who has written about the case previously.
2 The Imperial Household Agency is the government agency in charge of matters concerning the Imperial Family. They also apparently manage this 13,000 sq. metre duck sanctuary in Ichikawa.
3 Previous articles have stated that Hawker let Ichihashi enter her apartment after he followed her home from the station as her roommate was present at the time. The nuance here is that he was an uninvited guest, or "intruded".

Article Source: Yahoo! News Japan, April 27th 2007, 11:00am (Tokyo). Originally appeared in Mainichi Newspaper, April 27th.


One Month Since Lindsay Hawker's Death, No Leads - Search Focuses On Places Such As Manga Cafés

It has now been one month since the discovery of British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker's body at a condominium in Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture.

Gyotoku Prefectural Police Headquarters have approximately 150 officers conducting investigations at manga kissa and the like in the search for suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi.1

Ichihashi escaped from the condominium where he lived on the evening 2 of March 26th after police arrived to investigate the whereabouts of Hawker. Ichihashi apparently had only 40-50,000 yen in his possession, but there has been no evidence of further withdrawals from his bank account.

This has led police to focus searches at establishments where one can stay for an extended period of time for a relatively small amount of money such as manga kissa, internet cafés and capsule hotels.

Additionally, police are making efforts to search empty and abandoned houses and have checked boats moored along the Edogawa River. Morning rush hour subways have also been stopped for several minutes while police conducted searches.

1 Although Ichihashi is the prime suspect in Lindsay Hawker's murder, the official crime he is listed as being suspected of is "illegal disposal of a dead body," which is often the first charge in a murder case.
2 Could be read as evening or night -- I'm not aware of the exact time police arrived at the condominium.

Article Source: Yahoo! News Japan, April 26th 2007, 6:30am (Tokyo). Originally appeared on Jiji Tsûshin, April 26th, 6:13am.


Ichihashi's Whereabouts - Rumours Of Suicide Persist

It has been 20 days1 since the discovery of English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker's body, but escaped murder suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi's whereabouts are still unknown. Even criminal investigators are now suggesting that the rumours of Ichihashi committing suicide may be true.

A reporter close to the case has commented on the current situation. "The most recent picture of Ichihashi was released to the public around April 3rd3, but there have been absolutely no leaks of new information from the police. The press had been anticipating an arrest, but there's been no progress. Out of frustration we finally asked 'Could he have committed suicide?' to which they wouldn't comment nor deny. There were also investigators4 that clearly stated 'Maybe the guy is already dead'."

Investigators have conducted a thorough search of Ichikawa City, Chiba but have turned up no clues. Nikkan Gendai also reported the rumours of Ichihashi hiding out in Osaka (see April 10th article), but Ichihashi's trail could not be traced there either.

"Eyewitness reports of a man matching the description of Ichihashi have come in from shops all over the Kanto region, but all the leads have turned up empty. When there are reports of a body being found, people chatter, asking 'Is it Ichihashi?'. The case is really at a dead end. The 50,000 yen he reportedly had in his possession must be almost gone by now. Some are beginning to label the case 'Unsolved'," said an informed source close to the Chiba prefectural police.

If Ichihashi has committed suicide and the case remains "Unsolved" after that brief moment police had Ichihashi before he slipped away, the Chiba police will lose all face and Lindsay definitely won't be able to rest in peace.

1 20 days as of the publication of the original Nikkan Gendai article, but 23 days as of Yahoo! Japan's syndication of it.
2 ibid.
3 See info and images on the official Chiba Police site. There is also now a downloadable PDF file of the wanted poster (see April 10th article). Click on poster image to download a high resolution version.
4 As singular and plural nouns are often not clear in Japanese, it's vague whether it was one or more investigators that stated the possibility of Ichihashi already being dead.

Article Source: Yahoo! News Japan, April 17th 2007, 10am (Tokyo). Originally appeared in Nikkan Gendai, (text not available online).


No Current News

There have been no major Japanese lang. stories on the case in the mainstream press or in the tabloids since April 9th. This reminded me to mention that if you come across a piece that you think should be translated, please let me know by posting a comment. Comments are set to "moderated," so I will receive an email notification first.


British Beauty Murder Suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi May Be Hiding in Osaka

(Ichikawa, Chiba). Ten days after the discovery of beautiful British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker's body, the trail of barefoot escaped murder suspect 1 Tatsuya Ichihashi (28) is still cold. Amidst theories that Ichihashi has committed suicide, shocking new revelations that he may be hiding in Osaka have suddenly surfaced.

"Ichihashi's parents received a phone call on April 3rd at their house in Gifu Prefecture. The call was traced to a public telephone in Osaka City's Nishinari Ward. Chiba police requested the Osaka prefectural police investigate. A two-day investigation was conducted on April 3rd and 4th, but the police were unable to attribute any fingerprints to Ichihashi. Investigators will stick to the area of the payphone for the time being," said someone related to the case. 2

At investigation headquarters, dozens of eye-witness reports have come in. On March 29th, love hotels in Funabashi City were searched and on March 30th the Tozai Subway Line was shut down to conduct another search, but no clues were turned up in either operation.

"Based on the large amount of eye-witness reports, the prefectural police have dispatched over 150 investigators to search neighbouring prefectures in the Kanto region. Despite a widening dragnet, there are no major clues," said an informed source close to the prefectural police. 3

Despite being 180cm tall and having escaped barefoot, Ichihashi has yet to be located. Some believe he may have already committed suicide. The online edition of Britain's Daily Mail have even proposed a theory that the yakuza may be harbouring Ichihashi. 4

It was during a stalemate in the investigation that the theory of Ichihashi hiding out in Osaka suddenly came to light. He's believed to have a degree of money in his possession. If he were to hide in Osaka's doyagai (flophouse) district, it would prove quite difficult to find him. 5

"The phone call was silent, and Ichihashi's parents' home phone number is rumoured to have been posted on the internet. It could just be a nasty prank. For these reasons, investigators cannot say for certain whether (Ichihashi) is hiding in Osaka or not." 6

As long as the investigation continues to go hither and thither, victim Lindsay Ann Hawker won't be able to rest in peace.

1 Although Ichihashi is the prime suspect in Lindsay Hawker's murder, the official crime he is listed as being suspected of is "illegal disposal of a dead body," which is often the first charge in a murder case.
2 No name or position provided.
3 Most likely a reporter with close ties to the police.
4 The nuance in original article is that the yakuza theory was a highly unbelievable scenario. I have to agree that it's an outlandish idea, considering that Ichihashi, by all accounts the somewhat spoiled son of a rich family, has absolutely no connection to the underworld.
5 Kamagasaki, one of Japan's largest districts of cheap lodging for day labourers and homeless, is located in Osaka's Nishinari Ward, where the phone call originated from. The area is also well-known as an place where people drop out of society for different reasons.
6 Quote attributed to same source as note 2

Article Source: Yahoo! News Japan, April 8th 2007, 10am (Tokyo). Originally appeared in Nikkan Gendai, April 5th, 2007 (full text not available online).

30,000 Wanted Posters of Hawker Murder Suspect Posted Across Japan

30,000 wanted posters of Lindsay Ann Hawker murder case suspect Tatsuya Ichihashi were distributed to police stations and other locations across the country on April 6. Ichihashi is wanted for illegal disposal of Hawker's body, which was discovered at Ichihashi's condominium in Ichikawa City (Chiba) on March 26th.1

The posters are being displayed in train stations, banks and convenience stores, appealing for information from the public. So far 209 phone calls and 43 emails have been received, but no arrest has been made in the case.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Translation of Wanted Poster:

Help Find a Criminal!
Wanted For Illegal Disposal Of The Body Of A British Female Teacher2
Warrant For The Arrest Of Tatsuya Ichihashi
28 Years Old
180cm (5'11") Tall
Slim Physique
Single-edged eyelids (see Wikipedia article)
Prominent Lower Lip

If you have any information regarding the case of the British female teacher 3 whose body was found on March 26 in Ichikawa City (Chiba), please contact the police.

Gyotoku Police, Chiba Prefecture

1 Although Ichihashi is the prime suspect in Lindsay Hawker's murder, the official crime he is listed as being suspected of is "illegal disposal of a dead body," which is often the first charge in a murder case.
2 ibid. Please excuse the wordy translation.
3 Hawker's name is not mentioned, only that the victim was a "British Female Teacher". This is not unusual for a wanted poster.

Article Source: Yahoo! News Japan, April 7th 2007, 10:33am (Tokyo). Originally appeared in Mainichi Newspaper (text not available online).