DNA from dismembered woman’s corpse matches suspect’s missing friend


DNA from chopped-up body parts found in an Osaka condominium last month matches that of an acquaintance of a woman under arrest on suspicion of desecrating and abandoning the corpse, police said.

Terumi Morishima, a 29-year-old self-described illustrator and occupant of the condo in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted by investigators as saying she “cut and hid” the body of Sawako Watanabe, 25, who has been missing since late December.

Watanabe, a part-time worker in Kadoma, lived in a shared house near Morishima’s condo. Dismembered body parts, including a skull, were found in a freezer and bathroom in the condo as well as at the shared house.

Autopsies have shown that Watanabe was suffocated around Dec. 24 or 25. Morishima had lived in the shared house with Watanabe until late November.

When she was arrested on Dec. 29, Morishima reportedly told the police she was preparing for a Christmas party with Watanabe in the condo on the night of Dec. 24 but that Watanabe disappeared when Morishima temporarily went outside.

Morishima allegedly said during later questioning that when she returned to the condo, she found Watanabe collapsed and not breathing, and that she cut up her body and concealed it.

According to the police, Morishima withdrew more than ¥100,000 from Watanabe’s bank account using her bank card on the afternoon of Dec. 25 and apparently used the money to buy a freezer and a saw, which they believe were used to dismember and conceal the body.

Before she was placed under arrest, Morishima reportedly told investigators that Watanabe had asked her to withdraw the money.