A 2019 photo of Misaki Ogura Photo: Yamanashi prefectural police
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Police continue search for girl who disappeared near campsite in 2019

27 Comments

About 40 police officers resumed their search on Sunday for a 7-year-old girl who disappeared from a mountainous campsite at Doshimura, Yamanashi Prefecture, in 2019. The renewed search came after fragments of a human skull, believed to be that of a child, two sneakers and a sock were found last week.

Despite intermittent rain, searchers continued to look for further remains or possessions belonging to Misaki Ogura who vanished from the campsite on Sept 21, 2019, NHK reported. The skull fragments were found on a mountain trail 600 meters from the campsite on April 23. A right green sneaker, the size of a child’s foot, was found on Thursday, and a left sneaker, also, green, as well as a sock were found on Friday, about 300 meters from where the skull fragments were found.

Police believe recent heavy rain may have brought the skull fragments and sneakers downstream, or uncovered them where they were buried.

Misaki’s mother, Tomoko, who has been at the campsite each day since Thursday, told media the green sneakers were identical to those belonging to her daughter but said she had not given up hope that Misaki was still alive somewhere.

Police said a forensic analysis of the skull fragment has not conclusively proven that it is the missing girl’s.

Misaki had come to the campsite with her mother and sister in a group of about 30 people. She was last seen running by herself behind some other children after eating snacks at around 3:40 p.m. Her mother watched her run off and turn left into the woods. That was the last time anyone saw her. She was wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and jeans.

More than 1,700 police, Self-Defense Force personnel and volunteers searched for her, using tracker dogs and a drone equipped with a sensor capable of detecting body heat. A stream runs through the woods down the mountain but a search downstream proved fruitless. Police also checked nearby farmhouses and empty huts.

Since Misaki disappeared, Tomoko has been on the receiving end of hateful messages online.

In October 2020, police in Narita City, Chiba Prefecture, arrested a 69-year-old man on suspicion of defamation of character. Yukio Nogami, a self-professed investor, posted a video image of Tomoko on his blog, claiming that a crowd-funding campaign to help keep the search going for her missing daughter Misaki was a scam.

A 31-year-old man from Shizuoka Prefecture was arrested for making an online threat to kill Tomoko. The man, Katsuji Saitsu, a construction worker, posted multiple messages on Facebook from Oct 22 to Nov 16, 2019, in which he told Ogura, "I know you’re the culprit. Hurry up and turn yourself in. I'm going to kill you."

Since Misaki’s disappearance, her family has handed out more than 430,000 flyers to campers and passengers at a nearby train station. Anyone with any information on Misaki is asked to call Yamanashi prefectural police at 0554-22-0110.

The search will resume on Monday morning.

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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Such a terrible story.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Poor family.

Hope they get closure.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Police believe recent heavy rain may have brought the skull fragments and sneakers downstream, or uncovered them where they were buried.

is that buried naturally, forest debris, fallen stones covered her, or do they mean a dug out hole. Sounds like the latter?

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Godspeed to all those aiding in finding this child and bring a resolution to this case.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

A horrible ordeal for a parent made all the more painful by malicious tormentors.

“…Tomoko has been receiving hateful messages online: *

In Oct ‘20, police in Narita City, Chiba Pref, arrested 69yo Yukio Nogami, a self-professed investor, on suspicion of defamation of character, [who] posted a video image of Tomoko on his blog, claiming that a crowd-funding campaign to help keep the search going for her missing daughter Misaki was a scam.”

“31yo Katsuji Saitsu, a construction worker from Shizuoka Pref was arrested for making an online threat to kill Tomoko, … posted multiple messages on FB from Oct 22 - Nov 16, ‘19, in which told Ogura, "I know you’re the culprit. Hurry up and turn yourself in. I'm going to kill you." -*

May they receive a speedy & just convictions and sentenced to the full extent the law will allow for their evil.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

If it is her, how on earth did they not find her body during the search?

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

Still too few details at this point @Lamily/Mr.Kipling and there’s been no confirmation yet if the fragment found last week was even from the missing child. The actual topography of the site has not been depicted in media so, we don’t know yet if the remains found “on the side of the mountain trail” means ‘flat and amongst overgrowth’ or ‘at the foot of a precipice’. The deceased could have been there from a fall, the remains intentionally left there or scattered by predators and carrion feeders.

Apr. 27: - https://japantoday.com/category/national/human-bones-found-near-japan-campsite-where-girl-disappeared-in-2019 -

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Something tells me that these items are of the missing girl, in some respects i hope there not, and shes still alive, the lab testing should confirm weather or not they are of the missing girl. her parents must be sick with worry, i hope it is the start of closure for them.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The sneakers and the socks may indicate that the girl may have struggled with her abductor as she was taken away, I pray that this case gets resolved with good news to the family.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

You mention "Tomoko" in the middle of the report for the first time, but you don't say who Tomoko actually is.

Moderator: The story has been amended to clarify that point.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

is that buried naturally, forest debris, fallen stones covered her, or do they mean a dug out hole. Sounds like the latter?

She’s been missing almost 3 years. That’s plenty of time for for her to become naturally buried in forest debris, leaf litter, dirt, and mud.

The sneakers and the socks may indicate that the girl may have struggled with her abductor as she was taken away

Or, more likely, the corpse was eaten by scavengers and what was left rotted away. Articles of clothing like a shirt and pants would have disintegrated, while more sturdy items, like shoes, would have remained intact. A sock could have survived by being shielded inside the shoe itself.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Skull fragments forensic identification is inconclusive.

With the amount of people and everything involved in the search it would appear more logical the girl was Perhaps abducted.

Lets hope more evidence of what happened gets clarification.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

They ought stop giving ,this child family false hope ,she still alive

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

More than 1,700 police, Self-Defense Force personnel and volunteers searched for her, using tracker dogs and a drone equipped with a sensor capable of detecting body heat. A stream runs through the woods down the mountain but a search downstream proved fruitless. Police also checked nearby farmhouses and empty huts.

with that kind of equipment and manpower, as well as the time that has passed since she disappeared, I doubt she is alive, I'm sorry to say.

In October 2020, police in Narita City, Chiba Prefecture, arrested a 69-year-old man on suspicion of defamation of character. Yukio Nogami, a self-professed investor, posted a video image of Tomoko on his blog, claiming that a crowd-funding campaign to help keep the search going for her missing daughter Misaki was a scam.

A 31-year-old man from Shizuoka Prefecture was arrested for making an online threat to kill Tomoko. The man, Katsuji Saitsu, a construction worker, posted multiple messages on Facebook from Oct 22 to Nov 16, 2019, in which he told Ogura, "I know you’re the culprit. Hurry up and turn yourself in. I'm going to kill you."

Wow! So much for Japanese WA and all that..

May they receive a speedy & just convictions and sentenced to the full extent the law will allow for their evil.

amen to that brother.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Obviously due to lack of substantial evidence the poor girl was probably kidnapped.

Why commenters don't realize that ?

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

The girl, unfortunately, is most likely no longer alive. And there is no point in blaming the mother. Japanese parents in general give their kids too much leeway. Allowing them to wander into a forest without an adult to supervise? But it’s the culture here. I personally would have never allowed my child to do something like that but the mother shouldn’t be blamed.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo neToday  09:41 am JST

Obviously due to lack of substantial evidence the poor girl was probably kidnapped.

Why commenters don't realize that ?

I don't know, I think it would indicate an animal attack more than an abduction surely. If a person had taken her they would have taken her shoes too.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Three years is a long time. Three years of snow, rainy seasons, landslides. Animals would have also disturbed whatever remained.

Frustrating story to say the least. Everybody is asking why the search teams couldn't find her 3 years ago? Why would she have been in this location: the opposite direction to the friends she went to go play with? And, of course, was someone involved in all this.

The mother has gone through three years of hell, with no reprieve in sight.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

miss_oikawa

I disagree.

There's absolutely nothing to indicate an animal attack.

And no screams we're heard or blood or damaged clothing or anything.

Human abduction more likely.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

NHK News 7pm reporting tonight “no personally identifiable DNA” present in the skull fragment recovered. This shoes recovered are “similar” but not yet conclusively determined to be those of Misaki Ogura. Police are continuing to meticulously sift through several seasons of leaves and rocks that have slid down the sloping terrain. Hopefully, there continued efforts now will provide more productive leads before the approaching rainy season.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't know, I think it would indicate an animal attack more than an abduction surely. If a person had taken her they would have taken her shoes too.

On some level, I can understand people wanting to believe she was abducted. It gives them hope that she’s still alive somewhere. But from everything I’ve seen about the case, there’s been nothing to indicate foul play. No footprints from other people, no tire marks from a possible escape vehicle. Nothing.

At this point, all we have is an inconclusive skull fragment and some shoes that look “similar” to ones the little girl was wearing.

While the chances she was abducted aren’t zero, the most likely answer is that she wandered off into the woods, became lost, and died. A forest is a far more active place than a lot of people might imagine. As morbid as this is going to sound, dead things don’t last long.

I think we’d all prefer if I turned out to be wrong and she was still alive somewhere, but that’s just not as likely as the alternatives

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So, a skull “believed” to belong to a child, and “similar” sneakers, but no “conclusive” evidence? Perhaps a clairvoyant could clear up this mystery?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@ReynardFox I agree with your post. I agree in deep forest one can easy get disoriented, especially a small child who is new to that environment. I did read that the area had a stream etc... Many people search for the little girl. The stories I have read does not mention the type of wild life in the area. The search parties may have search in all the low laying areas but if the area is habitat to wild cats they are known to take their prey up a tree and hide it and perhaps this is why the body probably couldn't have been found because everyone was looking down and not up especially taking into consideration the wild life in the area.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@kaimycahl

The two biggest animals to look out for in that area would be black bears and wild boars. Both can be very aggressive and both are omnivorous.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I wounder if there is any more info from the labs as this article was uploaded on the 3rd of May, were now on the 22nd of May

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A mountainous campsite at Doshimura is located on a steep mountain that even most Yamanashi residents rarely go to. I think that the search is difficult.

If bones are found in the mountains.

It is necessary to investigate whether It is an accident or an incident. It is necessary to investigate the case becouse It is a mysterious case. I hope this sad thing never happens again. When stepping into the mountain river sea, It is necessary to be aware that Nature Is terrifying.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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