Fresh warrants served in body in a barrel case

Kyodo

Police served fresh arrest warrants Wednesday on key figures over the dumping of a corpse in a concrete-filled metal drum into a harbor in Okayama Prefecture.

The police believe Miyoko Sumida, 64, was the chief culprit among eight people involved after the drum and body of Jiro Hashimoto, 53, were retrieved from Bizen port late last month.

The seven others, some of whom remain at large, include Miyoko’s 38-year-old cousin, Masanori Ri, her 59-year-old sister-in-law, Mieko Sumida, who is also in custody, and her 27-year-old daughter-in-law, Rui Sumida.

According to investigators, Miyoko Sumida has admitted she was involved in the dumping of Hashimoto’s corpse but has claimed not all of the other seven suspects were party to the crime.

Police suspect Sumida and the others conspired in July 2011 to carry Hashimoto’s body out of Sumida’s residence in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, and dump it in a drum filled with concrete in Bizen port in early November. Relatives of Sumida who were living with her have confessed that they carried Hashimoto’s body at Sumida’s behest.

The police have yet to determine the cause of Hashimoto’s death. In questioning, Sumida’s relatives said he was physically abused in her residence, confined to a shed on the balcony and left to die.