3 mummified bodies discovered in Toyama home


Police who broke into a locked home in Japan after neighbors complained of a foul smell found three partially mummified and almost naked bodies, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The bodies, which were partly decomposed and partly desiccated, were wearing only underwear in the living room of the two-storey house in Namerikawa, Toyama Prefecture.

The dead are believed to be Shoichi Osaki, a 78-year-old pensioner who owned the house, his 45-year-old daughter and mentally handicapped 40-year-old son, a local police spokesman said by telephone.

Neighbors alerted police after not seeing the three for around a month.

"We believe the Osakis have been dead for quite some time as their bodies were partly mummified," the official said. "Neighbors told us they had noticed a strange odor emanating from the house for a few weeks."

An autopsy was being performed to determine the causes of their deaths, he said, adding foul play was not suspected.

© (C) 2012 AFP

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Not having seen them for a while? Must have been a long while if they were mummified......... shouldn't this read "decomposed bodies"??

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The smell must have been awful with three bodies and the summer heat. I am quite surprised it took so long for someone to complain. The smell of a decomposing body (or bodies) is something quite unique and unforgettable. Four years ago the old fella on the second floor apartment where I used to live died in his sleep. It was only three days later I could smell it from the 6th floor. Eeeeew!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

. shouldn't this read "decomposed bodies"??

It does seem to be an odd headline. Perhaps something lost in translation or else there is more to this story than what we've been given so far. The accepted definition of "Mummification" is to "Embalm, Dry, Preserve" a dead body. Weird if this is actually what has been done,however, I doubt it very much.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In this case, mummified can also mean shriveled up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

shouldn't this read "decomposed bodies

A better translation is probably "dessicated."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

A better translation is probably "dessicated."

A better translation is probably "dead" ?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wow... not seeing them for four weeks and a foul smell emanating from the house, and they just called now? Better late than never, I suppose.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Father, son and daughter,died and mummified in the living room? Well, it's common sense that the family was murder.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They weren't seen for 4 weeks, meaning that they were dead and drying for at most that much. Even assuming the room temperature hit 40C, it would take far longer than 4 months, and far more likely that maggots would have destroyed the bodies before they even started to dry. Either there was enough poison to kill even maggots involved, and some sort of dehumidifier or oven left on, or they were just being polite in saying mummification rather than a pool of what used to be human flesh and bones. I would think it was the latter.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

As a former EMT and combat medic I can tell you the clinically-correct term is DECOMPOSING. A human body, deceased in a humid environment for 45+ days and emitting a foul odor is not mummified. The odor is emitted by gases produced in the decomposition process. I'm sure the police discovered a rather unpleasant sight.

Aside from the arguments over adjectives, this is in my opinion a sad commentary on Japanese society. Where I grew up, people knew and looked out for their neighbors. If they sensed something was wrong they would check on them right away. Japanese seem very cold and impersonal to me sometimes. Please take an interest in others and never hesitate to offer a hand or ear when needed!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

If it was a month ago, at first neighbors probably thought they'd gone somewhere for Obon, then didn't see them back,started wondering. Any other time of the year they might have been discovered quicker.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Ronald, I have neighbors that are not very sociable ( just keep to themselves) and are rarely seen. One such person was discover early this summer only because the police knocked on the door by chance, discovering it open and a foul stench afoot. The hermit had apparently been dead for a few months.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

murder or family suicide who will know ? Hopefully JT will do a follow up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aside from the arguments over adjectives, this is in my opinion a sad commentary on Japanese society. Where I grew >up, people knew and looked out for their neighbors. If they sensed something was wrong they would check on them >right away.

It was 2.5 years before my neighbor across the street introduced himself....this was in the USA btw!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Very strange. Murder/suicide? I guess the cops will have to answer that. Tragic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It used to be that neighbors in Japan knew your every move.... things have certainly changed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is a sad thing that happens too often. Even a quick wave is better than to not ever acknowledge your neighbors. Look out for one another is the point.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If foul play was not suspected, what are their possibilities? If it was wintertime, you might surmise death by carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty heater in a closed room. This, however, happened in the summertime when heaters aren't in use and windows are generally open. I'll be interested to hear what the autopsies determine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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