Japan, a country with the third-lowest crime rate in the world, was stunned on Tuesday when police in a Tokyo suburb made a gruesome discovery in a small apartment occupied by 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi — a young man police now suspect to be a deranged serial killer, according to a report in the Tokyo-based Japan Times newspaper.
In their search for a missing 23-year-old woman who was reportedly suicidal, police traced the woman to an apartment in Zama, a city of about 130,000, approximately 22 miles southwest of Tokyo. Inside Shiraishi’s apartment, which investigators described as a scene out of a Haloween horror movie, according to a New York Times report, police discovered dismembered and mutilated parts of nine bodies — including two severed heads stuffed into a cooler.
The other body parts, which police say belonged to eight women and one male victim, were also jammed into coolers and tool boxes, and buried in cat litter which Shiraishi believed would prevent the strong smell of the decaying bodies from becoming overly powerful.
Police say that the suspected serial killer has confessed to his crimes and told the media in Japan that Shiraishi said, “I killed nine people since I moved in on August 22,” according to Japan’s Kyodo News wire service.
— Marc Ferriere (@Zillion29) October 31, 2017
Despite the alleged killer’s use of cat litter to suppress the odor of the mutilated corpses he stored in his second-floor townhouse apartment, neighbors had complained earlier about a repugnant odor emanating from behind the doors of Shiraishi’s residence.
“I thought it smelled like sewage,” one man who also lived on the second floor of the building told The Japan Times. “It was something I never smelled before.”
Japan is a country of about 127 million people but maintains a remarkably low murder rate. In 2015, the country experienced only 1.02 murders per 100,000 residents — compared to five murders per 100,000 in the United States, according to the demographic statistics site NationMaster.com
The two severed heads in a cooler were found by police right away because Shiraishi had stored them at his front door, the media reports out of Japan said. Other body parts were found in containers distributed throughout the apartment. The suspected killer, who according to Kyodo News is employed as a “recruiter” for a sex trade business in Tokyo’s notorious red-light district of Kabukicho, told police that he would dismember his victims in his bathtub and then toss some body parts out with the trash in an attempt to destroy evidence.
“There is no doubt that I tried to hide the body of the person I killed,” Shiraishi told police, according to Kyodo. “I dismembered it in the bathroom, disposing of some body parts in the garbage.”
Shiraishi sexually assaulted some of his victims prior to killing them, according to the police account cited by Japanese media reports, adding “I couldn’t throw away (the bodies) out of fear for being caught.”
— infowe (@infowe) October 31, 2017
Police made their horrifying discovery while searching for a 23-year-old Tokyo woman who had posted messages online stating her desire to commit suicide, and looking for another suicidal person “to die with me,” she wrote. She had been missing for more than a month.
Police were led to Shiraishi’s residence after a surveillance camera image captured him accompanying the suicidal woman at a local train station. Investigators believe that the woman became one of Shiraishi’s nine victims.
[Featured Image by Erin Cadigan/Shutterstock]