Police admitted they were unable to contact Charles Thomas Ikenaga to warn him against stalking a high schooler he later murdered because they had been calling a cellphone belonging to one of his friends, thinking it was the suspect’s.
Upon his arrest Tuesday evening after stabbing to death Saaya Suzuki, 18, Ikenaga, 21, had on him a cellphone with a different number from the one police had dialed earlier in the day based on what the victim had told them.
Ikenaga has told investigators he was not aware the police had called him.
On Tuesday, an officer at the Mitaka Police Station on three occasions called the number Suzuki had supplied, believing it was Ikenaga’s. Suzuki and her parents had visited the station that morning to report Ikenaga’s stalking and to seek help.
Because Ikenaga did not answer any of the calls, the officer left a voice message, requesting him to return the call.
However, this number turned out to be that of a phone belonging to one of Ikenaga’s friends. Ikenaga had borrowed the cellphone to call Suzuki, and she had subsequently blocked the number in June, believing it was his.
The friend said he noticed the calls from the police but didn’t listen to the voice message because he did not recognize the number.
Suzuki’s funeral was held Saturday in the western Tokyo suburb of Mitaka. Nearly 400 people her wake at a local church Friday night.