Police officer failed to tell boss about stalking complaint before murder
Police investigating the murder of a high school girl say a Tokyo police officer failed to quickly report to a superior that the girl had approached the officer about being stalked by her former boyfriend, who is accused of killing her.
A directive that the National Police Agency (NPA) sent to prefectural police departments across the country in 2012 requires that officers consulted by residents over stalking promptly inform police station chiefs about such complaints.
The latest findings suggest that the chief of Mitaka Police Station, which handled the case, may not have known anything about the 18-year-old girl's complaint until she was murdered.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is investigating whether station's response to the girl's complaint was appropriate.
"The directive doesn't require officers to report such complaints to their bosses within a specific time frame. Of course, officers must report any urgent matters to their bosses. We'll investigate whether the judgment on this particular case was appropriate," said MPD official Hirotaka Yamaguchi.
The girl visited Mitaka Police Station with her parents on the morning of Oct. 8, and consulted an officer for about 90 minutes over stalking by Charles Thomas Ikenaga, 21, who is now under arrest on suspicion of murdering the victim, according to MPD officials.
In response, the officer asked the girl and her family to come to the police station again the following day and provide emails and letters sent to her by Ikenaga. However, the officer failed to immediately report the girl's complaint to the station chief because the officer was busy handling another case and the boss was away from the office to attend a gathering, according to investigative sources.
The MPD explained that the boss received a report on the girl's complaint "sometime before or after the murder occurred." However, it remains unclear when the chief of the police station was notified of the stalking complaint.
On the evening of the same day, the girl was brutally attacked by Ikenaga, who had sneaked into her home in Mitaka, western Tokyo, and she died shortly afterwards.
The MPD also revealed that an officer attempted to call Ikenaga on three occasions on Oct. 8 to warn him against stalking the girl, but failed to reach him because the telephone number the officer called was that of an acquaintance of the suspect.
When Ikenaga was dating the girl, he was using the acquaintance's cell phone, so she gave Mitaka Police Station that phone number as his contact number. However, by the time the victim consulted police, Ikenaga had returned the phone to the acquaintance.
The acquaintance refused to answer the calls because they were from an unfamiliar phone number, according to MPD officials.
MPD investigators also found and recovered a knife, which Ikenaga told investigators he had thrown away while fleeing, on the premises of a condominium complex about 500 meters away from the murder scene on Oct. 11.
October 12, 2013(Mainichi Japan)