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Two quizzed on Asami’s death

Published: 
Friday, February 12, 2016
Cops search abandoned building for clues
A Crime Scene Investigator leaves an abandoned house at 40 Woodford Street, Newtown, yesterday. The house was searched after police received information that Japanese national Asami Nagakiya was seen entering and exiting the premises hours before she was discovered dead at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Ash Wednesday morning. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

A man and woman were up to last night being questioned for the murder of Japanese pan player Asami Nagakiya. However, police were careful not to label the duo as suspects as they both went in voluntarily to offer information.

The two were being interrogated after an autopsy revealed Nagakiya, 30, was manually strangled to death before she was thrown into some bushes under a tree around the Queen’s Park Savannah between Carnival Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, when she was discovered.

Police last night said they were also being “assisted generously” by citizens seeking to help piece together the hours before, during and after Nagakiya’s killing.

Nagakiya was a trained musician by profession and arrived in Trinidad on January 8 to participate in Carnival related events. She was from Sapporo in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. 

Nagakiya’s autopsy was carried out by pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov at the Forensic Science Centre, St James. However,  Alexandrov referred all questions from the Guardian to the Japanese Embassy.

The pathologist said he could not confirm or deny whether Nagakiya was sexually assaulted as had been suggested in some reports, saying it was “beyond his competence.” 

However, the T&T Guardian understands swabs would have to be taken and analysed to determine whether there was sexual assault.

At the centre earlier yesterday, two Japanese men said to be representatives of the embassy did not speak with the media after viewing the body and quickly left the compound in a black Toyota Pajero, escorted by police in a white Nissan Xtrail.

Contacted later yesterday, a spokesman for the Japanese Embassy said they did not wish to comment on Nagakiya’s case as the police investigation was at a sensitive stage. 

“We are checking the status of the incident with the local police authority. We cannot say anything definitive at this moment,” he said. 

The spokesman refused to reveal if the embassy had contacted Nagakiya’s family in Japan and if the embassy was involved in organising her funeral arrangements. However, the T&T Guardian was told  her body will be flown back to Japan as soon as arrangements are made.

House searched

Meanwhile, Crime Scene Investigators investigating Nagakiya’s murder visited a house at 40 Woodford Street, Newtown, yesterday searching for clues in the case.

Shortly after 4 pm, three police vehicles arrived outside the property, which has been abandoned for a couple years, since Nagakiya had reportedly been seen there. 

The officers were at the property for several hours and captured photographs and other sensitive material which are most likely to be submitted as added evidence in the investigation.

An investigating officer at the scene told the T&T Guardian that the house is known to be frequented by questionable characters. Another officer said they had information that Nagakiya also went there, hence the reason a team of CSI officers were despatched to process thoroughly  the venue.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, a nearby resident said the building was once occupied by the Rape Crisis Society.

“The organisation moved out about two to three years and since then it has been left abandoned,” the female resident said.

Another resident, a male, said he saw Nagakiya in the area a few times during the season and added only once he had seen her enter the compound and exit alone.

According to reports, Geoff Adams, of Tamana, was walking through the Queen’s Park Savannah when he noticed a homeless man screaming while pointing to a patch of bushes. 

It turned out he was pointing to Nagakiya’s body, which was found metres away from the Queen’s Royal College and the Maraval Road roundabout, as crews from the Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme (CEPEP) were busy cleaning up rubbish left over from Carnival celebrations. 

The area was cordoned off by police for several hours as CSIs combed through heaps of discarded food and beverage containers, which surrounded Nagakiya’s body, for evidence.

JENSEN LA VENDE and RHONDOR DOWLAT