SAN DIEGO – Former San Diego resident Anthony Simoneau has been charged with the 2007 murder of his Japanese wife Fumiko Ogawa, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Ogawa’s body was found in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park near the Bow Willow Campground on Jan. 20, 2007, but was not identified until a DNA match in 2011. She was from Shimane Prefecture.
Honolulu police arrested Simoneau, 46, around 4 p.m. Thursday on an extradition warrant issued by San Diego authorities, said Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu. His extradition hearing is set for Monday morning in Honolulu.
Simoneau would face a maximum of 25 years to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge.
Ogawa, then 41, was last seen near the Point Loma home she shared with Simoneau on or around Jan. 4, 2007, according to the San Diego DA’s Office.
According to a 2011 San Diego police affidavit filed in support of a search warrant for a life insurance policy taken out on Ogawa, Ogawa’s family in Japan said the last time they heard from her was early January 2007. She died a week before the body was found on Jan. 20, 2007, the document said.
Married since 1996, Simoneau filed for divorce from Ogawa in 2002, but retracted the divorce application the following year, the police statement said.
Later that year, Ogawa inherited a large sum of money from an aunt and uncle in Japan. Following the inheritance, Simoneau allegedly came to own four Land Rovers, a Hummer, four boats, two other vehicles and a motorcycle. However, around mid-2006, he started pawning mostly women’s jewelry with local pawn brokers.
According to the statement, Simoneau said he tried to report his wife missing a couple of days after she left him, but there is no record of any report.
Even after Ogawa died, Simoneau allegedly continued to refer to her as if she were alive, writing, “Tell everyone we said thanks and will miss you all. The Simoneaus,” in a goodbye letter to the couple’s landlord in September 2007, eight months following Ogawa’s death.
The manager of their apartment reportedly told police that Simoneau told her Ogawa had gone to Japan to care for an ailing relative. In the meantime, he allegedly told his neighbors Ogawa was in Hawaii setting up their new home.
“The circumstances of Fumiko Simoneau’s death suggest Anthony Simoneau killed her and moved on with his life,” the police statement concluded.
When Ogawa’s body was identified in 2011, Simoneau was already living in Honolulu.
Around June 2011, he was arrested and charged in Honolulu with felony theft for stealing luggage from a store at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation.
This past August, a Hawaii judge deferred Simoneau’s probation for three years and set aside his guilty plea.