This photo shows the site where police recovered the body of Japanese woman Hitomi Akamatsu in Abadiania, Brazil. Photo: Goias state civil police via AP

Japanese woman killed in Brazil died from blow to the head


The Japanese woman whose body was found next to a waterfall in Brazil’s Goiás state died as a result of a blow to the head, probably from a blunt rock, according to the detective leading the investigation.

The 18-year-old Brazilian man who confessed to killing Hitomi Akamatsu claimed in his first interrogation that he had used her blouse to strangle her, detective Isabella Joy told The Associated Press by phone. A forensic report from Goiás state’s crime lab that came back on Friday indicated cranial trauma was the actual cause of death.

The man, who local press has identified as Rafael Lima da Costa, is under preventative arrest for homicide resulting from a robbery and for hiding a cadaver.

Akamatsu moved to the city of Abadiania to seek treatment for her skin cancer after she survived a nuclear accident in Japan, Joy said. She remained there after the arrest of the spiritual healer known as João de Deus, or John of God, who drew people from all over the world to his small city two hours west of Brazil's capital with promises he could treat everything from depression to cancer. Last year, he was found guilty of committing multiple rapes.

Akamatsu's body was found in a ditch beside the waterfall after her friend reported her missing, which prompted authorities to send out a search party with tracker dogs.

Security camera footage showed da Costa following Akamatsu, and later returning with his blouse over his shoulder, Joy said. While the woman’s blouse hasn’t been located, other clothes of hers as well as an exercise mat were found burned inside an abandoned home near the waterfall. Her underwear was also found in the woods, and has been sent for forensic analysis.

Almost one week had passed between Akamatsu’s death and the day her body was found. The time elapsed combined with the humid environment caused fast decomposition and made it impossible to confirm whether she had been raped, which da Costa hasn’t confessed to having done, Joy said.

Da Costa said he had intended to rob somebody to pay off a drug debt, and that she had passed him by. Another interrogation is expected next week.

The man doesn’t have a lawyer and will most likely be appointed a public defender, Joy said. The AP was unable to reach him to seek comment.

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©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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May Hitomi rest in peace.

I hear she was also a victim of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake/tsunami as well.

I pray for her soul.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Akamatsu moved to the city of Abadiania to seek treatment for her skin cancer after she survived a nuclear accident in Japan, Joy said.

What a tragedy.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Reality is here more disturbing and confusing than any bad movie plot. Skin cancer from radiation, going from Japan to a crazy sect in Brazil and then , as this isn’t still enough , being possibly raped and afterwards killed with own clothes by a crazy overdebted and drug addicted robbing youngster near a beautiful waterfall? Unbelievable. That’s much beyond of imagination or profiling standards in that case.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

At least he's been apprehended and won't be able to commit other crimes to feed his addiction.

RIP Hitomi

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The 18-year old young man will also experience many things during his stay in Brazilian prisons. Some may be very much like the last things Ms. Akamatsu experienced. I hope her family can recover her remains or ashes and bring them back to Japan for a peaceful closure to her tragic life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The AP was unable to reach him to seek comment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If she had stayed in Japan, she would not have been killed. May her spirit rest in peace.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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