NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Okinawa police served a further arrest warrant Thursday on a detained civilian base worker for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old local woman in April, investigative sources said.
Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, 32, a former U.S. Marine who was a civilian employee of Kadena Air Base, was initially arrested May 19 on suspicion of dumping the woman’s body.
Shinzato is suspected of raping the woman in a grassy field on a roadside in Uruma in central Okinawa and stabbing her to death with a knife on the night of April 28. The woman was taking a walk at the time.
The incident sparked public outrage and protests in Okinawa, home to the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan, and led to the U.S. forces in Okinawa imposing an alcohol ban and restrictions on the movements of its service members.
The police found the woman’s body on May 19 in a wooded area in the village of Onna, north of Uruma, based on Shinzato’s statement. He initially admitted to hitting the victim’s head from behind with a bar and stabbing her multiple times, the sources said.
He also reportedly said he had been driving and searching for a possible rape victim for two to three hours.
The knife used in the attack has not been found, but the police confirmed that multiple marks on the bones of the victim’s torso are believed to have been caused by the impact of a blade.
Shinzato’s smartphone is also understood to have contained an image showing the victim’s smartphone screen. The police identified the grassy area in Uruma as the spot where the killing allegedly occurred after analyzing the location data embedded in the image and other information, according to the sources. An earphone belonging to the victim was also discovered in the undergrowth.
The police have found blood and DNA matching the victim’s in Shinzato’s car. They also found keys belonging to the woman and a bar believed to have been used in the attack in a water channel in an industrial area in Uruma, where her smartphone signal disappeared.
Shinzato has kept silent since May 20, according to the sources.