This poster shows the suspect in the murder of a 66-year-old woman in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture in 2015. Photo: Kanagawa Prefectural Police

Police appeal for help 6 years after arson-murder of woman in Kanagawa


Kanagawa prefectural police on Wednesday appealed for the public to come forward with any information that might help catch the person responsible for the murder of a 66-year-old woman whose body was found in the ruins of her burned-out house in Yugawara six years ago.

Police have put up posters at JR Yugawawa Station, containing a photo of a suspect taken from surveillance camera footage at the station between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. on April 21, 2015, Fuji TV reported. On that morning, a passerby saw flames coming from the window of the 55-square-meter wooden house of Mie Harai at around 6 a.m.

After the fire was extinguished, the body of Harai was found on her bed, with a knife still in the right side of her forehead. Hirai lived alone and was confined to a wheelchair. An investigation showed that the fire started in the living room and that glass at the front entrance door had been smashed. In another development, an elderly man, who lives about 350 meters away from Hirai's house, was assaulted by a young man who hit him with a steel pipe after he returned home at around 12:10 a.m. on April 21.

The suspect is described as being about 170 cms tall and was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and white face mask. He was also carrying a blue and white striped bag and had a black rucksack on his back.

Police said they have questioned 2,700 people since the murder. Anyone with any information is asked to call Odawara police at 0465-32-0110. Police have also opened a website on the case.

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It risks becoming one of many cold cases in Japan. 6years?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It’s remarkable that Japan does not have an operational national police agency to assist prefectural police with serious domestic criminals like this thrill killer. The Keisatsu-cho is only an administrative agency.

Sometimes the resources of a federal police agency can be very useful for hard cases like this. Some criminals don’t restrict themselves to mayhem in just one prefecture.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A tad late.

So he wore a white mask...

I hope they caught him as he is sure to be a repeat offender.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

After 6 years?

C'mon, I have problems remembering what I did or saw last week!

But maybe that's age-related?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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