Police lose evidence in case of student who murdered, dismembered sister
Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 08:17 EST
TOKYO — Police said Friday they have lost four items of evidence linked to a 21-year-old former cram school student who has been charged with killing his younger sister and dismembering her body in late December. The items lost are a wooden sword, a saw, a pair of athletic shoes and a sweatshirt, which were seized Jan 4, the day after the dismembered body of the 20-year-old junior college student was discovered at their home in Shibuya Ward.
Police said they might have mistakenly disposed of the items as waste. The items, each of which is packed in a bag, had been kept in a cardboard box at the Yoyogi Police Station.
Investigators discovered the items were missing Jan 7 when they planned to send them for examination by experts. The items might have been disposed of Jan. 6 when the Yoyogi Police Station took out its waste for disposal for the first time this year, police said.
Akira Mitsuzane, the chief investigator in charge of murder and robbery cases at the Metropolitan Police Department, said he deeply regrets the loss of the evidence which he said were key items in helping to establish the crime.
Meanwhile, the deputy chief and spokesman of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, Shuji Iwamura, also regretted the loss of evidence and said he cannot deny possible adverse effects for future court hearings against the defendant. "The prosecution will make best efforts to win a right decision" against the defendant, he said.
On Monday, prosecutors indicted Yuki Muto for allegedly suffocating his sister Azumi with a towel and submerging her head in bathwater while she was unconscious on the afternoon of Dec. 30 before dismembering her body.