Girl slain after alerting police about stalker

Cops only called accused to issue warning but got no response


A high school student and budding actress was stabbed to death Tuesday evening in front of her home in the Tokyo suburb of Mitaka and a man she told authorities earlier in the day had been stalking her was later arrested and confessed.

The police opened an investigation into whether they responded properly.

Saaya Suzuki, 18, had gone to the police with her parents Tuesday morning to say she was being stalked by the suspect, who was later identified as Charles Thomas Ikenaga, 21. The police subsequently tried three times to call Ikenaga on his cellphone to issue a warning, but he didn’t answer.

Suzuki had earlier told her teachers that Ikenaga had threatened to kill her. When they went to a police station Friday in Suginami Ward, they were told Mitaka police should handle the case.

Suzuki was confirmed dead at a hospital after sustaining several stab wounds to her neck and abdomen, the police said.

Ikenaga, who was arrested after fleeing the scene, reportedly confessed to the attack and was quoted as saying he obtained a knife beforehand and discarded it while fleeing the scene.

The police also believe Ikenaga dumped a bag and a bloodstained jacket that were found near an apartment building about 500 meters from the crime scene.

“I waited for her near her home with the intent to kill her,” Ikenaga was quoted by the police as saying.

Witnesses had reportedly told the Metropolitan Police Department that they saw Ikenaga wearing what appeared to be a purple turban. About 90 minutes after launching a manhunt, police apprehended him on a street in Mitaka about 600 meters away from the site. They said he was wearing bloodstained pants.

Suzuki had appeared in a movie and was pursuing a career in show business while continuing to attend school.

According to the police, Ikenaga told investigators that he met Suzuki after making contact through Facebook.

Suzuki is believed to have been attacked when she came home shortly before 5 p.m.

Her school principal told reporters that Suzuki had reported to her teachers last Friday and Monday that she was “scared” because Ikenaga was stalking her and hanging around her house.

Suzuki said Ikenaga had threatened to kill her, according to the principal.

A teacher at her school sought help about the stalking case from a nearby police station last week, and the case was referred to the Mitaka Police Station since that was where Suzuki lived.

The principal expressed sadness over Suzuki’s death, saying she was a “cheerful student who loved English.”

“If someone threatens to kill you, you cannot predict when you will be attacked,” stressed Kyoko Hasegawa, a lawyer from Hyogo Prefecture who helps female victims of violence. “A high school student is not capable of protecting herself.

“We won’t be able to prevent these incidents unless the police take prompt action anytime someone reports (being threatened),” Hasegawa said. “Police should question the alleged stalker or provide temporary protection for the victim and victim’s family.”

An official from an entertainment agency that had previously managed Suzuki said they discovered her when she was in the fifth grade. She began her entertainment career while in elementary school, took acting lessons after school and appeared in a film a few years ago.

  • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ andrew Sheldon

    The problem here of course is that the police in all countries are unaccountable bureaucrats demoralised by their own low wage and marginalisation. Yes, bureaucrats are underpaid and ineffectual…not because of low wages, but because of the ‘life-negating’ culture. If the police were not a vertically-integrated monopoly, and if they competed in the private sector, like private security services, these people would have a greater prospect of getting a settlement, and that settlement would be paid by the private contractor/owner who failed to implement an effective business plan; and not by a disempowered taxpayer. Instead vested interests will consign themselves pensively to the culture of victims, where they instead look to govt to ‘solve problems’, when they are the ‘political’ expression of a bigger problem in ethics (Why am I responsible?), epistemology (how can I know?) and metaphysics (what is truth?).

  • Vasu Seshadri

    Condolences to the family. This is a madman gone crazy with a troubled life. Do not blame the authorities for it is easy to blame others. She was a budding star who had so much to live for and this is a troubled world.

  • EQ

    So, did I get this right? The girl called the Police for protection and what do they do? They ask her where she is and immediately dispatch an officer from the nearest Koban to come to her help? No….They attempt to call the stalker and leave a warning message on his cell phone!!! The Police in this country are absolutely CLUELESS and INEPT!!! Time to fire some people and put someone who really cares about protecting people.

  • Christine Amber Ruff

    That’s just like Tokyo police! This is even by my house, oh but they are quick to card me for my residence card and felt really student when they found out I attended Waseda University. They are all about bugging people about bike registration or checking if bikes or stolen, or as I said hassling foreigners, but when it comes down to serious crime and things that need to be addressed, they do nothing and crime continues to get swept under the rug. DESPICABLE!

  • Sasori

    Another stellar example of complete and utter inaction. Even police in Japan are, upon receiving information of a death threat, incapable of comprehending the concept of actually acting on information. And the parents too. Who, in their right mind, would allow their teenage daughter to go out and about as usual under re-occurring death threats, let alone stalking. Where was the father in all this? The girl should’ve been under lockdown until the perp was dealt with.
    As a father, I will do whatever it takes to protect ALL of my family and if someone comes to me with such a problem; it’s now my problem and I’ll do something about it. Period.

  • Selchuk Driss

    If this is true, that would be sad, but it happens all the time. Still, no reason to kill anybody. Now he will spend the rest of his life in jail. Was that worth it?

  • LordElfa

    Just call it what it is, Japan’s Police forces are a joke. They are culturally biased, understaffed and easily bought off.