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Missing girl says she can't remember anything of past four days

79 Comments

An 11-year-old girl who had been missing since Saturday in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, has been found, but has been unable to shed any light on her disappearance, police said Wednesday.

Police said Michi Shinozaki showed up at a koban (police box) in Chigasaki, 20 kilometers away from her home, at around 4 a.m. Fuji TV reported that the koban was empty at the time and the girl used the phone linked to police headquarters to call for help.

Police said the girl was unharmed, but tired. They asked her if she was hungry and she said no. She was wearing a black sweater, shorts, black tights and sneakers when she was found.

Police told reporters that she kept saying she couldn't remember anything or she didn't know when asked where she had been for the past four days.

Police gave no further details of what happened to her, whether she had been kidnapped, got lost or run away from home.

Accompanied by her parents, Michi was taken to a hospital for a medical checkup on Wednesday morning, police said.

About 250 police were mobilized on Tuesday to search wooded areas near Shinozaki's home. She had been playing with a friend at her home until 4 p.m. Saturday. After that, she went for a walk with her dog. When the dog returned home alone 40 minutes later, her father went out to search for her. He notified police at 6:40 p.m.

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79 Comments
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Nice to start the day off with some good news!

28 ( +28 / -0 )

Slumdog, the back of the koban is locked, and they have a phone on the desk that will connect you to the nearest police station. The koban is empty when the officers are out patrolling.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Funny_car: The hell is your problem? were you there? do you know for a fact the police did nothing? give it a rest for chrissakes

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Wonderful news - found safe and unharmed.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I am not trying to bash here, but is it standard practice to leave a koban empty and open? In this case, it was good it was open because the girl was able to use the phone (if I am understanding the article correctly), but leaving a koban empty and open seems like a potential recipe for trouble.

Yes it's standard practice. The phone only goes to the main police station, it's not a regular phone. The only things available in the box are a phone, a sign saying to use it, a desk and a chair.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

We have to balance the public's need to know about a potential abductor against the family's right to privacy.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Couldn't be happier that she is alive ! But she was 20 kilometers away and missing 3-4 days...

I would love to know more details, was there a kidnapper or some sick child molester ???

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Mirai, on the news on Sunday morning, a neighbor said she's seen an unfamiliar person in the neighborhood.

I see 'unfamiliar' people in my neighborhood like literally every fricken day. Doesn't make the person or the situation suspicious at all. I think its a case of jumping to conclusions by this neighbor, or giving the media info that they want to hear to get on camera.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Ka_chan

It is very odd that she doesn't remember anything from the last 4 days. Drugged maybe?

You gotta remember that this is an eleven year old girl. There is no telling what she went through and what kind of trauma she is feeling from it. Also, there could be a good chance that the abductor (assuming there is an abductor) threatened her and told her to keep quiet. After all, the abductor does know where she lives now, and could return to inflict real harm on her.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Glad she's safe and sound! I hope nothing happened to her that could harm her mentally

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not much you can do to assist some when you have no idea where they are. They definitely put effort into finding her. At least, I don't think those 250 officer just sat on a park bench for a few hours to return and say they couldn't find her.

Once they did manage to find her or, as you say, she returned. They did what they could to assist her such as, checking if she was ok, or asking if she was hungry, and returning her home.

On the not remembering thing, sometimes people lock away memories of trauma and sadness as a way of coping with these kinds of incidents rather than dealing them. Hopefully if something did happen she can get the psychological help that she needs. Unfortunately, Japan doesn't have the best record for dealing with psychological issues.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm glad she's back safe and sound with her family. I hope nothing untoward happened to her but considering she was missing for a good few days may mean something did. It could also just be that her dog got off its leash and she got lost trying to find it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Whatever the story behind, just let it be. Hopefully, she's going to be a better person as an aftermath and we as a whole would be more aware and careful with our own. Indeed a very positive news for this morning.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I am glad that we have a happy ending to this story.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Alien abduction.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@funny car

I see your point, but it's even rare that the case becomes nation wide news. There are hundreds of missing children all over the country that we have not even heard of. Last year, there were about 20000 missing (10-19 year old boys and girls). and how many missing person's photo have you seen on media? Perhaps 30? 50? Photo should've came out earlier? Yes. but you should know there are a lot of cases that don't even get to be nation wide news.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Thank god, she is fine n in good shape.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, it could be, Mirai, the media are often irresponsible in what they chose to air.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

YES !!!...I'm really glad to read she is safe !! Thanks to God !!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Great news and what a relieve for her parents and family, it would have to be a parents worst nightmare to have a child go missing and can only imagine the feeling they have now she has been returned

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is something seriously amiss here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Aliens...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It is very odd that she doesn't remember anything from the last 4 days. Drugged maybe?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm also glad she is alive and would like to know what happened to her.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hallelujah!! Her family must be so relieved!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Glad also to hear she was found. She goes out walks her dog and only her dog returned. Then four days later at 4 AM she is at a koban by herself and can't remember the previous for days? Hmmm, sounds like she got drugged up and someone drpped her off there. Date Rape Drug? A extensive examination would be in order.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The most important thing is that she is back with her family, safe. What a relief.

Beyond mere common sense, it shows why it's such a bad idea to speculate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sometimes when traumatic things happen you loose all memory of it and everything that happened around that time. I do hope she is safe, but I think it's unfair to just flat out assume anybody is a liar, especially when something really bad might have happened.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Denial can be a coping mechanism for the social handling traumatic events. A medical check up is good. If there is a bad person out there, they need to be identified, caught and held accountable so that others are safe.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The mystery deepens, glad she is home in one pice. The comments on JT are more entertains than the news sometimes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Runaway, maybe. Traumatized, maybe. Threatened, maybe. Drugged, maybe. Or its possible that police are not telling media what happened to her to protect her rights and privacy since her name and photos are in public.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Thank goodness they found her. As a father of a 6 year old girl, this one hit me personally....but its great to know that she's okay.

There are certain details we would not be told if they happened, and its just as well.

@funny car

Give it a rest. All you did was criticized how everything was done too slowly, and the results show that everything was done right. The media got the news out as quickly as feasibly possible and the girl was found.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

@ConnorH93

It could also just be that her dog got off its leash and she got lost trying to find it.

From all the photos we've seen, it would seem the dog still had both his collar and lead on.

I'm just glad she's safely back home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yes it's standard practice. The phone only goes to the main police station, it's not a regular phone. The only things available in the box are a phone, a sign saying to use it, a desk and a chair.

Thanks for that. I have not been in a koban in a long time and I do not remember much about it at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Glad she was found would love to know more details.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

When I said

Mirai, on the news on Sunday morning, a neighbor said she's seen an unfamiliar person in the neighborhood.

I didn't mean to imply that the man was suspicious, I was replying to-

I see nothing that says this or anything about a young guy in the neighborhood..

It was not brought up again, so I suppose it turned out to be nothing. I've never understood why the "news" shows here (of the morning show variety) will run just about anything without verification. I've seen the same one time and time again, broadcast utterly false information just to snag viewers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, I already thought she was a goner. Glad that she's still alive! The parents must have one hell of a relief now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thank God. She is safe, I'll pray for her. I REALLY hope nothing bad happened that is the reason why her memory went. ♥

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@7solace9: Yes. I agree with everything except...what you said about denial could be true, but it's not fair to the girl. I say online what I would tell her to her face, which is I believe her. :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is damned peculiar...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@funny car

For me, a girl goes missing while she takes her dog for a walk, and a girl goes missing on the way back from school, are both red flag. But this case got attention because it was unique (dog came home alone), and there weren't a lot of bigger news to broadcast.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They said she was last seen wearing blue jeans but she returned wearing black tights. That seems strange! How did she change!!?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good to know she's safe, but...

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/11-year-old-girl-missing-in-kanagawa-since-saturday

Police said Michi is 150 cms tall and was wearing a black sweater, blue jeans and white sneakers.

Then this story says

Police said the girl was unharmed, but tired. They asked her if she was hungry and she said no. She was wearing a black sweater, shorts, black tights and sneakers when she was found.

Wherever she went she changed clothes....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cut out the bickering please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As everyone else has already commented, I am so happy to read that this girl was found unharmed.

Police said Michi Shinozaki showed up at a koban (police box) in Chigasaki, 20 kilometers away from her home, at around 4 a.m. Fuji TV reported that the koban was empty at the time and the girl used the phone to call police.

I am not trying to bash here, but is it standard practice to leave a koban empty and open? In this case, it was good it was open because the girl was able to use the phone (if I am understanding the article correctly), but leaving a koban empty and open seems like a potential recipe for trouble.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Great she returned back home.But that dog wasn't much use.What happened to "ruff,ruff follow me" and go to the last spot? It seemed happy just to be home.Definitely no Lassie.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mirai, on the news on Sunday morning, a neighbor said she's seen an unfamiliar person in the neighborhood.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Himajin

I wasn't criticizing you of course. I was criticizing the neighbor's comment, and why he brought up the fact that there was an unfamiliar person in the neighborhood. I would only mention that if I saw the unfamiliar person committing a crime or speaking to the girl just moments before she went missing. Otherwise this unfamiliar person could have been anybody ( a relative of a neighbor, newspaper delivery, just passing through...etc...)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

re: My last post:

"Should" should have been "Shouldn't".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what a strange ending to this news story. missing four days and doesn't remember anything? this girl could be lying, but why?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@rickyvee

If she is lying, it could be that went to meet a friend whom she met online perhaps. But the police say that they have no reason to believe that she ran away, and that she was more likely involved in some sort of incident.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Given that she was unharmed but can't remember, it sounds a bit like a case of a runaway. Even if that's the case, and it beats abduction or anything like that, it's good that she was found and is being treated. Too often we hear of bodies being found, or never hear anything at all when it comes to children missing.

funny car: "I contend that the police were too slow in reporting this to the media."

Actually, what you've said is that the police did "nothing at all to assist the girl", even on this thread. Even if you say something was "too slow", or that "(you're) sure they made every effort in the search and after she was found", do you deny that is a form of assistance?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Glad she’s back safely. Amnesia of that sort is very unusual, unless she was unconscious for the whole time. Yet she was uninjured and wasn’t hungry which suggests she had been eating.

My suspicion is that she is covering up to avoid getting herself or someone else in trouble (maybe she met up with someone).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

" I don't think its very likely that a super fast missing person's report would have led to tragedy."

But I don't see how it would have done much good either other than to generate public interest and media headlines (and possibly many false reports from far away). Isn't the local neighborhood the most likely place to seek information? House-to-house calls, interview the missing person's friends and acquaintances, posters in local stores and stations, search of local open spaces and possible hiding places, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

According to the FBI, the first 3 hours of a missing person case s critical and 98% return alive. It unlikely that an 11 year could have planned ahead to have food for 3 days in a country that likes their food fresh. Not to mention that she wasn't seen but she did show up soon after her picture was posted. Runaway, maybe, abducted, maybe. Wonder if the police will really investigate, now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

good news ! there have been some very cold nights this week, whatever happened she seems to be healthy and relatively unharmed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

her family deserve some privacy now.

I think they shouldn't give the name, but we have a right to know what happened. That could help prevent future cases. If some weirdos were involved, bring them to justice as the next victim may be found in not so good shape.

It unlikely that an 11 year could have planned ahead to have food for 3 days

Not an issue even for a 5 yr old. It's likely she has many acquaintances living nearby. People are often away for the whole day or even on trips, some don't lock all the doors, don't count how many cookies are left in the box... She could have been hidden all the time in some garage at the corner of her street.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Doesn't remember"... you can get two of those before turning 18!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well maybe she just has a medical condition, or maybe she fell and hit her head, hope she wasn't drugged. Glad that this had a good endinf.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its so good that this child was found!! But if the girl says she cannot remember, it sounds like she is lying. I am so happy she is safe and it was a great effort from police!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are other reason for her not remembering. It may be a medical condition of some sort. The ONLY important thing is she found her way home. Oh "funny car", you are not funny.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What was that all about?

It was about a child that was missing for more than 24 hours. Isn't that enough? Should that be enough?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It is good she is safe but chances are someone has threatened to harm her family if she tells the truth about where she was for 4 days. Eventually the truth will come out.... and it may hit closer to home than expected.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Aliens...

Or something supernatural!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Smells like a roofie.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

To those posters who, on another thread, said or implied she was dead, shame on you!

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

@Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

The fact of the matter is that we still know nothing of what happened in the last few days she was missing. She may have ran away, or she may have been abducted and experienced some kind of trauma that effected her memory in some way. The key thing to remember is that she was missing and now she is back, and that's what really counts. Whatever the reasoning may be for her to go missing, will be worked out. Maybe she does have issues at home,and if so, I am sure that if her parents really care about her (which at this point in time, I have no reason to doubt that they do care, since they called the police practically immediately after she didn't return from her walk with the dog) this incident will force them to work their issues out.

@Elbuda Mexicano

By the way, the real Japanese news says it was NOT HER FIRST TIME to go off with her dog and for the dog only to come back home

where does it say that she went missing before? I see nothing that says this or anything about a young guy in the neighborhood..

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Somebody must have drugged her and put her into a vehicle, then must have brought her to the Chigasaki area for whatever evil purpose he must have had in mind. And chances are the person lives nearby where she does and had been doing surveillance on her every day habits. Do not walk the same routine everyday. Check the surveillance cameras in Chigasaki area for any cars with Sagamihara license plates and check which ones have addresses near where she lives. It takes time but it is possible to find the culprit this way.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Spelling error. Four days not for days.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Like I said..an alien abduction of some sort, or drug rape..but we will never know..we can only speculate..the happy ending will never be brought out in the open, that's how Japan works, that's how the system is here, different frm other countries..different strokes..

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

There are hundreds of missing children all over the country that we have not even heard of.

gas07lisa,yes, yes. There are good reasons why Amber Alerts have strict criteria each case must meet to us it. If every missing person's case was reported with panic, soon people would not pay attention. And most missing persons just left on their own it seems.

However, an 11 year old girl who goes to walk the dog and later the dog comes home alone? Massive red flag in my mind. Her case would not meet the Amber Alert criteria. But even some Amber alerts seem superfluous, especially given 20/20 hindsight. I would say her case met my opinion of what is deserving of a news flash, even if 20/20 hindsight declares it was not necessary.

Actually, what you've said is that the police did "nothing at all to assist the girl",

The context of the conversation was that they did nothing to assist her return from where ever she was. A ride from the koban to home is hardly something to go lauding the police about. She was gone for four days. It took too long for police to inform the public. I say so because of the FBI stats ka_chan cites. I thought that was common knowledge. Guess not.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Doesn't she remember what she has been doing for the past 4 days? Or is she telling a lie?

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

The girl is found and she and her family deserve some privacy now.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

When I heard that she was 3rd daughter of her parents, I thought she might be a runaway. I know a 3rd daughter who had runaway a few days around her age. I hope I'm wrong.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I did not say the police did nothing.

I said they did nothing that actually assisted her.

If you dispute that, please tell us what they did that led to her safe return from...where ever she was.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

We have to balance the public's need to know about a potential abductor against the family's right to privacy.

I think we all are, but coming up with different answers. It might be because I also account for the potential abductor's potential actions. I don't think the response to a missing person's report on the TV is going to be so rash usually.

Something that makes me think so is that a girl was abducted from a school I worked at. These guys bundled her into a car. They went about a kilometer and stopped at a stop light, at which point the girl let herself out. They did not chase her down or try to harm her. They just let her go.

Then looking at this case, if she was abducted, she was let go, and that is despite there being a missing person's report out there. I don't think its very likely that a super fast missing person's report would have led to tragedy.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

the results show that everything was done right.

Actually Mirai, it seems more likely the police did precisely nothing to assist this girl, lost for four days in winter, except to have a telephone available at the koban. Sure, the jury is still out because we don't know exactly what happened.

And not to say that my way would have accomplished anything at all. But it still seems to me that a great lot was left to chance that did not need to be.

If my child goes missing under such bizarre circumstances, I hope its handled differently.

An 11-year-old girl who had been missing since Saturday in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, has been found

Ah semantics. See that makes is sound like the police really did something. In fact, she was not found. She returned.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

You are not following the conversation ConnorH93. I contend that the police were too slow in reporting this to the media. I am sure they worked their butts off during the search and did a splendid job once she turned up at the koban. But if the public had had her picture and name on Saturday night or even Sunday morning, she might have actually been found and been home safe much, much sooner. I don't understand why that is so hard to understand.

I understand that there are lots of variables we cannot account for, by my thinking is to play the odds. And the way I see the odds, its damned lucky is back alive in any case, but the amount of time it took to inform the public did not increase her odds of survival.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

What was that all about? No wounds inflicted, not even kidnapped...another brief encounter with the third kind? I guess we will never know as this is as far the news goes for us.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

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