Setagaya family murders remain unsolved after 12 years
Police officers on Sunday paid their respects outside a home in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, where a family of four was murdered 12 years ago.
Police also handed out flyers appealing for information at nearby Seijogakuenmae train station, in the hope that someone will come forward with new information.
Mikio Miyazawa, 44, his 41-year-old wife Yasuko, 8-year-old daughter Niina, and 6-year-old son Rei, were found dead on the morning of Dec 31, 2000. Miyazawa’s son had been strangled, and the other three had been stabbed to death. Fingerprints and other evidence in the home indicate the killer used the computer and ate ice cream after the attack on Dec 30, spending up to 11 hours before leaving the next morning.
Approximately 190,000 officers have been involved in the case to date, and police have received more than 16,000 pieces of information from the public, yet the killer remains at large. Fifty police officers are still assigned to the case to follow up on any leads. The reward was raised from the initial 3 million yen to 10 million yen for information which leads to the killer or killers’ arrest.
Despite extensive detective work focusing on the killer’s clothing, accessories, weapons, and other circumstantial evidence such as the sand found on the clothing that the killer abandoned at the scene, police have not identified any suspects years after the murder.
Following the murders, police deduced that the clothes and knife left at the scene had been bought in Kanagawa Prefecture. Three kinds of powered fluorescent dye were found on the trainers and bag left at the scene. In the pocket of the sweater, which had only gone on sale two months before the killings took place, were found traces of bird dropping, Japanese zelkova tree and willow leaves.
DNA analysis has revealed that traces of blood found at the scene not belonging to the family suggests that the killer has a mother of European descent, possibly from a country near the Mediterranean or Adriatic Sea. Analysis of the Y-chromosome has revealed that the killer’s father is of Asian descent, with the DNA appearing in 1 in 4 or 5 Koreans, 1 in 10 Chinese, and 1 in 13 Japanese.
Miyazawa’s 81-year-old mother Setsuko prayed at the family’s grave in Saitama Prefecture on Dec 21. Her husband, Yoshiyuki, died in September at the age of 84. Setsuko said it was sad that her husband went to his grave with the case unsolved. She was quoted by NHK as saying: “To have no answers is frustrating. Although all this time has passed, I still pray that the killer will be caught.”
Police are urging anyone with information pertinent to the case to call 03-3482-3829.