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New wanted poster with Ichihashi in disguise as first year comes to a close

It has been almost one year since the body of Lindsay Ann Hawker was discovered at the residence of yet-to-be-apprehended murder suspect1 Tatsuya Ichihashi on March 26 of last year, resulting in renewed interest and articles in the media.

Late last week on the 13th, the Gyotoku Police Department in Chiba Prefecture released a new wanted poster featuring images of Ichihashi in disguise (hensou) on the left and a female disguise (josou) on the right. The central image and text remain the same as seen on previous flyers and posters. If you click on the image of the poster found on the police site, you can download a large format PDF version.

3000 A4-size flyers and 4000 A3-size posters were printed and have been distributed at police stations/koban, train stations and lodging facilities in urban and suburban areas.

For those who haven't followed the case since the early days, information that came to light last summer (please see the July 31st 2007 entry) led police to believe that Ichihashi may be hiding out in Shinjuku's gay quarters, hence the type of disguises police believe he may be using. Why these two particular looks were rendered has not been mentioned but it is assumed that they are based on eyewitness reports of people matching Ichihashi's description.

The two renderings are the work of artist Motoaki Sudo. With the aid of computer "age progression" software first used to create portraits in the case of North Korean abductee Megumi Yokota, Suda created the two images.

The police also released current statistics on the case. From the time of the murder up until the 6th of March, approximately 42,000 police and detectives have worked in some capacity on the case. There are currently 141 active investigators. There has also been a total of 3108 eyewitness reports nationwide, none of which have led to Ichihashi's whereabouts.

While the police have been rightly criticized for letting Ichihashi slip away in the first place, the subsequent efforts to locate him have been constant and widespread. While it is hard to comprehend that someone could seemingly vanish as Ichihashi has, sadly there are many other cases that date back much further than this one where suspects have yet to be tracked down.

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.

Article Source: Original article and commentary based on information from Sankei Newspaper, March 13th 2008, 6:27pm (Tokyo) and Mainichi Newspaper, March 14th 2008. Unfortunately there is no guarantee as to how long original Japanese language articles remain archived online for free.

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