Joji Obara was served an arrest warrant Friday on suspicion of fatally assaulting British hostess Lucie Blackman in July and then dumping her body in a cave, police said.
Obara, 48, drugged Blackman, 21, around July 1 with the intent of raping her, causing her to die from an overdose, police alleged. He then dismembered her corpse and buried it in a seaside cave, they said.
Obara has already been indicted on charges of drugging and raping six women — including an Australian who died — and is on trial for some of the cases.
Her remains were found in a beach cave in Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb. 9 near a condominium Obara owns — more than six months after she disappeared.
Obara, a business executive, continues to deny having any part in Blackman’s death. He reportedly told investigators Friday that he will “remain silent” about the latest warrant.
Blackman, who worked as a bar hostess in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, disappeared after leaving her apartment in Shibuya Ward on the afternoon of July 1, telling her friends that she had been invited on a seaside outing with “a customer.” Police suspect Obara lured Blackman into visiting his condominium in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, by inviting her to lunch.
That night, a friend of Blackman’s received a telephone call from her. Police determined she called from Zushi using a prepaid cellular phone purchased by Obara.
Police also seized a photo showing Blackman — apparently taken near his condominium in Zushi that evening — as well as strands of Blackman’s hair in the condo.
Police found in Obara’s apartment in Miura traces of cement similar to the cement used to encase Blackman’s remains in the cave.
Witnesses have also told police they saw Obara loitering near the cave with a shovel around July 5.
Investigators plan to question him about how and where he killed Blackman and dismembered her body.
Obara has been charged with drugging and raping six women. From videotapes seized from his Zushi condominium, police suspect he had sexually assaulted women in the flat.
Tim Blackman, father of Lucie Blackman, said Friday he appreciates the dogged investigation of the Japanese police into his daughter’s death, offering thanks to the Japanese people for their shared concern about her.
Blackman tearfully said by phone that he and his family continue to be tormented by deep sorrow and pain.
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