After 2 1/2 years on the lamb authorities in Japan have caught their man. 30-year-old Tatsuya Ichihashi was taken into custody by police in the Suminoe Ward of Osaka. Despite having an altered appearance from plastic surgery, Ichihashi’s identity was confirmed via his fingerprints. What led to his arrest? I would appear that the actions of an alert citizen led to Ichihashi’s capture. Apparently while waiting for a ferry bound for Okinawa, Ichihashi was recognized by an unidentified individual whom of which alerted authorities to the fugitive’s location. Ichihashi was later transported to Tokyo via bullet train and taken to the police station in Gyotoku, Chiba prefecture. According to The Japan Times Online Ichihashi is technically wanted on charges of abandoning Lindsay Hawker’s body and police are investigation his actual involvement in the murder.
Despite wide spread media attention Ichihashi was able to obtain a job with a construction company in Osaka where he lived and worked for more than a year under the alias of Kosuke Inoue. Ichihashi was not only able to secure work, but he lived in a dormitory environment without anyone becoming suspicions. As authorities began to close in on Ichihashi he fled the location on October 11, 2009. Police searched the room at the construction company believed to have been occupied by Ichihashi were they found fingerprints, personal items and a passport application. One could speculate that the passport application is perhaps an attempt to secure falsified identification to further elude authorities by fleeing the country.
In a video interview courtesy of Sky News, the Hawker family can be seen expressing that it is good news Ichihashi has finally been captured. Bill Hawker (Lindsay’s father) stated that it is a relief that this part of their life has come to an end and that he will go visit his daughter at her grave and give her the news. Lindsay’s mother Julia stated that it is good news however it does not ease the pain of loosing Lindsay. Sister, Lisa thanked the press and citizens of Japan for their help, and mentioned that it was also the Hawker family perseverance and determination that help them get results.
Lindsay’s sister Louise, mother Julia, father Bill and sister Lisa (Photo courtesy of SkyNews)
The family has made trips to Japan to follow up on the progress of the case as well as meeting with the press and to hand out leaflets and tissue packets with Ichihashi’s picture on them. According to the Guardian website a woman claiming to be Ichihashi’s mother called a TV program (unknown) and asked her son to turn himself in and to cooperate with the authorities. Lindsay’s body was found in a bathtub buried in potting soil on Ichihashi’s balcony. An eerie reminder of 21-year-old British hostess Lucie Blackman found dismembered, buried in the sand of a small cave along the coast with a discarded bathtub covering the burial site.
Picture Source: Photo courtesy of Kyodo News