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kuchikomi

How a meaningless argument ended in murder

19 Comments

Two Osaka municipal high school girls were told by their homeroom teacher during lunch hour on Oct 6 to go to the school gate. Awaiting the puzzled teenagers were police investigators, who promptly arrested the two.

On the previous day, a young man was found dead in an empty barrel at Obama Bay in Fukui Prefecture. The man was identified as Yuichi Sagara, 19, reported missing since April. A police source explained that the barrel had been tightly sealed and stuffed with sandbags so that it remained underwater for six months. The body had decomposed to the bones and could be identified only through DNA analysis.

Six men and women in their teens and 20s have been arrested so far for abandonment of a dead body, including Akira Kometsugi, 27, who has already confessed to murdering the young man. An acquaintance of both the principal suspect and victim say the two knew each other through Kometsugi’s younger brother who was Sagara’s friend. Kometsugi’s home was known as a favorite den where high school students and other youngsters would hang out and inhale paint thinners.

According to police investigations, a quarrel over the use of motorbikes and video games escalated into a gang beating of the victim. The unconscious Sagara was later found to be dead, so the group took his body and disposed of it in a barrel. The high school girls denied any involvement, saying they were asleep in the car when the body was being dumped into the sea.

Police suspect all were under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime. Yet another incomprehensible act of violence over a meaningless argument.

© Japan Today

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"On the previous day, a young man was found dead in an empty barrel at Obama Bay in Fukui Prefecture. The man was identified as Yuichi Sagara, 19, reported missing since April. A police source explained that the barrel had been tightly sealed and stuffed with sandbags so that it remained underwater for six months. The body had decomposed to the bones and could be identified only through DNA analysis"

Hmmm. The body was so badly decomposed that it took them a day to identify it. No. Less than a day. Apparently, they found the body, identified it using "DNA analysis", identified the acquaintances of the deceased, and managed to interview them before 3 pm the next day. Whew. Nice police work there Lou.

The DNA analysis part, to be done in a single day would require that they already HAD a known DNA sample from the deceased, then they would have had to match that to the unknown sample. I find that unlikely.

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Quote: "Police suspect all were under the influence of drugs at the time of the crime. Yet another incomprehensible act of violence over a meaningless argument."

... Just another typical day in Japan

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The DNA analysis part, to be done in a single day would require that they already HAD a known DNA sample from the deceased, then they would have had to match that to the unknown sample. I find that unlikely.

The person was missing since several month, thus police would suspect a murder case and obtain a DNA sample to be able to compare it with those of unidentified corpses.

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Kyoken. It is possible. But if they did that for every 19 year old missing persons case, they probably have a lot of bottles of hair lying around. Even sending a detective around to take hair from hairbrushes would be expensive. Seriously, thousands of samples are lying around, presumably labelled, right? And let's just ignore privacy issues. If they pretested each of them to get the data, that would be even more expensive.

I remain skeptical. Even presuming that they had the data ready to go in a database, tracking down acquaintances would take some coordination.

Timeline. If you assume that they found the body at 9 am after all the police have punched the clock, then they pulled it out of the water, bagged and tagged it, hauled it to the coroner, took a sample, prepared and tested the sample, compared it with data of likely missing persons, verified it, reopened the case, made some phone calls and sent detectives to the school by the time of homeroom the next day. Hard to imagine nine to fivers being this on the ball. Hard to imagine a DNA database including missing 19 year olds. On the other hand, if one imagines that these people have nothing else to do 300 days out of the year, I suppose it could happen.

More likely someone is fudging the times in an attempt to make a screenplay for a future Japanese version of 24.

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There are some hints at super efficiency though. Love the way they went to the high school girls first. Given that they had identified the body, I am sure that they cracked like a peanut.

Kyoken, why would police have suspected this as a murder case? This Akira guy "already confessed". Did he do that before or after they found the body. Actually that makes all the difference in the world, doesn't it? It makes the DNA test superfluous, really, if the answer is BEFORE.

If the facts of this story are accurate.... if they actually did the detective work so quickly, then I am thoroughly impressed. I have been disappointed by the J police many times, but I am generally a fan. Does anyone know if they DO have DNA databases for missing persons? I really want to know.

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With regard to police DNA strategy. If this chap was missing for a while, the police might have approached relatives in advance for a sample to check against unidentified remains.

With regard to the case in general, half of the people involved are going to get soft treatment because of their age. Moreover, the story is going to keep a very low profile because it raises the issue of these kids using paint thinner, etc. To ask the more difficult questions would be in conflict with Japan's general state of denial regarding such issues.

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Japanese police don't need DNA analysis -they can sniff out a criminal out of millions (like a bloodhound) and their interrogation tactics are refined. =Look how that Sakai girl cracked, but then again with a filthy apartment like that she never really had a chance (smell gave her away).

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The unconscious Sagara was later found to be dead

According to who? How do we know he wasnt put in there alive?

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They "tightly sealed" the barrel, so it's possible the decomposing remains could have been preserved well enough for easy DNA analysis. You'd still need to remove the dentals to properly unidentify the body if DNA anal wasn't possible, but of course, the perpetrators have fingered each other already.

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It's possible the arrests were made and confessions obtained before DNA confirmed who it was. The police may have had an idea it was Sagara, based on size and estimated age, and may have already suspected some or all of the suspects that were arrested. These people may already have been interrogated after Sagara went missing. The statement about DNA may just mean that identity of the corpse could only be confirmed by DNA analysis, which could have taken place any time between October 6 and the date of this article.

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Yet another reason why marijuana should be legalized.

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hang out and inhale paint thinners. I just can't believe anyone would be dumb enough to do this. Permanently killing parts of your brain... that's pretty sad.

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Yet another reason why marijuana should be legalized.

Just want to point out a fact that anyone can buy chemical paint thinners legally and kill their brains with it, while possesing a plant, a gift from god, will get you in jail.

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cheers to dillbert14. all i have to say is Spice Gold. a legal alternative that you can buy in Japan.

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They don't have bottles of hair lying around!!!!

What they did: a) Some guy's mum reported him missing... she submitted either her DNA or some of his (or both.) b) This data was put onto a computer. c) When this body was found, they analyzed the DNA and put it onto a computer. d) The computer started flashing as it found a match.

... ever wondered why they take your fingerprint as a gaijin? Same thing... when a place gets robbed, they'll find a fingerprint, scan it into the system, and the computer will decide whether it is that of a gaijin or not.

[(Un)Fortunately?] in most cases (like this murder) it's a nihonjin who committed the crime, making their fingerprint database pretty useless for most crimes.

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Lotta skank crawl the streets these days at night in O town... Theyre all in Donki at midnight and most look and sound wasted walking down the streets with police car sirens wailing all night.... Then my other apt is peace and quiet in Kanagawa....

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Klein, you don't do this through a database. Even in the US it's always standard procedure when finding a body - especially in the case of foul play - and going through a list of people known to have locally gone missing in that time frame. There's a lot of ways they can go about it, but since in this case the body couldn't be ID's, DNA evidence was the only thing they could go on so they went to it first.

They don't use a comprehensive database, they simply go to the missing person's section and look through each file for a best guess match. That's why it came back so fast. Most of the time though, they try to ID the person which takes much longer. This is why a DNA match ironically happens much sooner when the body is totally decomposed. And they don't do a full DNA match, they do a quick DNA test of a small group of genes because they just need to narrow it down. If it goes to trial, then they'll do the full DNA match to prove it's 100.0% match.

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For a group on drugs they sure seemed to know what they were doing.

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Fighting over a video game?!? Can't see that, unless they were talking about "Demon's Souls" (just released in the U.S.). Damn that's fun...

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