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Asami’s close companion still in custody

Saturday, February 13, 2016

One man, believed to be a close companion of Japanese musician Asami Nagakiya, remains in police custody, while three others, two women and one man, each gave a statement in relation to the murder of the tenor pannist and have been released.

Police said the man in custody was picked up on Thursday after information gathered revealed he and Nagakiya, 30, were close. The two reportedly had a falling out over which Carnival band to play in on Monday but that was resolved by Tuesday, police said. The man, in his 20s, based on information gathered, may be freed, as there is nothing connecting him to the murder so far.

Rumours that Nagakiya was seen going in and out of an abandoned property along Woodford Street were also dismissed by police yesterday, along with speculation that she may have been sexually assaulted prior to death. 

Police said when her body was first discovered it appeared that she had died of natural causes, as there was one small abrasion on her chin. However, 24 hours later, the marks of violence surfaced and it was clear that the 30-year-old pan enthusiast was murdered. 

Her autopsy confirmed the suspicions and concluded that she was manually strangled. Officers said around the woman’s neck and chest were several black and blue markings, suggesting she came to a violent end with little or no resistance, as she had no defensive wounds and beneath her nails there was no evidence of tissue from her killer.

But according to police sources close to the investigation, National Operations Centre (NOC) cameras could not capture any footage at all in the area where her body was found in the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Wednesday morning. Police had been viewing CCTV footage from the area in the hope of retracing Nagakiya’s last steps.

Police said they have also yet to review any footage of her after she left the Silver Stars panyard Tuesday evening from nearby businesses. 

Officers also confirmed that Nagakiya made it back to the panyard and informed others that she was heading to St Ann’s to visit other Japanese nationals who were staying there. Police said they had two addresses for Nagakiya but did not want to divulge much, only that they were both in Port-of-Spain.

According to police, Nagakiya was first discovered at around 9.30 am on Wednesday under a tree at the Queen’s Park Savannah by a homeless man. Nagakiya was a trained musician by profession and arrived in Trinidad on January 8 to participate in Carnival-related events. Homicide detectives were able to confirm her identity Wednesday night, having sought the public’s assistance after her body was found.

According to reports, Geoff Adams, of Tamana, was walking through the area when he noticed a homeless man screaming while pointing at a patch of bush under a tree, a mere metres away from Queen’s Royal College. When Adams checked he discovered Nagakiya’s body and later went to the St Clair Police Station were he made a report.