Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya was last night identified as the masquerader found dead at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.Homicide detectives were able to confirm her identity last night, having sought the public's assistance earlier, after her body was found under a tree around 9.30 am.
Nagikiya and some of her friends have made headlines over the years as they traditionally visit T&T to play in the National Panorama competitions, including with former champions Phase II Pan Groove and PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, and partake of the Carnival festivities.
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 bushes.
"The guy say he see something in the bushes. I say it was a manicou or iguana but when I look I see a bikini bottom," Adams told reporters in a brief interview after being interrogated by police on the scene.
The grisly discovery was made mere metres away from 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 crime scene investigators combed heaps of discarded food and beverage containers, which surrounded Nagakiya, for evidence. Nagakiya was found lying face down and was subsequently taken to the Forensic Science Centre, St James, where an autopsy will be performed today.
Adams, who said he slept on a nearby park bench between Sunday night and yesterday morning to fully immerse himself in this year's Carnival celebrations, said he had not seen the woman in the area when he went to sleep late Tuesday night.
"If a woman was making noise that hour of the night I would not have think something was wrong because all kinds of different things does happen in Carnival," Adams said.He said from his brief observations of the body before he contacted police, the woman appeared to have marks of violence on her right forearm and waist.
"She had a laceration on her elbow and black and blue marks on her waist. It look like a rape/murder to me," Adams said.
Police sources said based on the state of decomposition of the body, Nagakiya probably died on Tuesday night but they refused to speculate on the cause of death or the possibility she may have been sexually assaulted before they receive the results of her autopsy. Homicide detectives said last night, however, that they had received information that she had a medical condition.
When she was initially found, there were no identification documents on or near the body, save a band from the Carnival band Legacy.In a telephone interview yesterday, before she was identified, Legacy bandleader "Big Mike" Antoine said he was searching his registration database to see if he could assist police in identifying her.
"We have a lot of people who play mas with us," Antoine said as he explained that he was using the victim's costume measurements to help identify her, as bands did not take pictures of individual masqueraders.
While he maintained his band ensured the safety of its masqueraders during the Parade of the Bands, he noted that they could not ensure revellers' safety once celebrations had ended.
"We had a smooth and incident free Carnival. A bandleader cannot do anything if someone gets killed or injured on their way home. The most I could do now is help identify the masquerader for the family," Antoine said.
He suggested that the victim possibly had her fateful encounter after leaving the band's Las Lap which ended at its Woodbrook mas camp around 7 pm.
"The only time we were at the Savannah was when we crossed the stage after Ronnie and Carro around 10 am in the morning," Antoine said.
Insp Michael Veronique, Cpl Stanley Romeo and PC Kendall Abraham, of the Region One Homicide Bureau, visited the scene and are continuing investigations.