NEW YORK – A man prosecuted last year in connection with the death of a Japanese woman in Vancouver was found guilty of murder on Friday, a Canadian court said.
William Schneider, 50, admitted to stuffing the body of Natsumi Kogawa, a 30-year-old student at a language school, into a suitcase in 2016 but denied the murder charges, according to local media.
Kogawa, a native of Aomori Prefecture, went missing sometime after she was seen walking with Schneider on a surveillance video in downtown Vancouver on Sept. 8, 2016.
Her body was found in a famous mansion known as Gabriola House in the city’s West End on Sept. 28 of that year. Schneider was arrested the same day.
Local media quoted Kogawa’s mother as telling reporters that she was grateful to the jurors for delivering justice for her daughter.
Emiko Kogawa said the deceased was a caring, curious and outgoing person who spoke often about Vancouver’s beautiful scenery.
“She was open to everybody,” she said through an interpreter and family friend. “Always wanted to learn more and had big dreams.”
The grieving mother said she hopes Schneider spends “as long as possible” in prison. His second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, though parole eligibility still has to be determined at a future hearing.