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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.

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