Woman linked to several deaths in extended family found dead in cell

Woman linked to several deaths in extended family found dead in cell Miyoko Sumida

HYOGO —

A woman at the center of a bizarre case involving the deaths or disappearances of several members of an extended family was found dead in her cell at a detention facility in Kobe on Wednesday morning.

According to police, Miyoko Sumida, 64, was found in her cell at 6:15 a.m. She was in a futon and a T-shirt was twisted tightly around her neck, with her hands still on the shirt, Fuji TV reported. She was taken to hospital and pronounced dead an hour later, police said.

Sumida has been in custody since last year. Officials at the detention facility said she often spoke about wanting to die and asked how she could kill herself, Fuji reported.

Last month, police arrested seven members of Sumida’s extended family as part of multiple murder investigation that expanded after three decaying corpses were found in an empty house in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

A fourth body encased in a concrete-filled drum was pulled out of the sea in Okayama Prefecture shortly afterward. Police said that more people were missing, presumed dead. Sumida used to live in the abandoned house.

Also under arrest are Sumida’s 62-year-old common-law husband and her two sons, aged 30 and 25, as well as a 42-year-old man married to one of the women whose body was found in her house.

All four dead were related to, or acquainted with, Sumida, police said.

News coverage of the case has featured tangled family trees and speculation over the reasons behind the multiple deaths, which has centered on claims the family has large debts and hinted at the involvement of organized crime.

Reports have said Sumida would approach strangers, initially picking a quarrel with them before befriending them.

She would build a rapport that allowed her to exert enormous control over her victims, which reports say escalated to the point where she was able to move into the family home or have families go to live with her.

Sumida would then punish any who tried to escape by coercing family members to inflict physical hardships on them, in some cases torturing and starving people to death.

Japan Today/AFP

  • 2

    WilliB

    Well, no loss to humanity there. I only hope the cops manage to identify all the members of her "family" the helped her.

  • 4

    rickyvee

    i would have preferred that she languished a bit longer in jail, not knowing when she would die and then finally being hung.

  • 6

    wontond

    I guess they don't have suicide watch in the Japanese penal system.

  • -1

    some14some

    suicide simplifies police job and a big scandal comes to an end abruptly.

  • 3

    papigiulio

    good riddance, too bad it wasn't a more painful way.

  • 6

    TheDevilsAssistant

    No lose there, but I wish they could have answered all the unanswered questions before she came to hell.

  • 0

    Hide Suzuki

    At least she saved tax payers' money at the end. I don't feel bad at all

  • 3

    Jechan

    This human waste died the way it lived: a coward.

  • 1

    waltery

    If it wasn't suicide someone needs a pat on the back.

  • 0

    JA_Cruise

    saves everyone the aggravation!! She was evil and does society a favour.

  • 1

    Tokiyo

    May she go through eternity in the rings of Dante's Hell. Lather rinse and repeat.

  • 2

    Nessie

    This is going to make one helluva TV docudrama.

  • 3

    alliswellinjapan

    Normally it is not a good thing to allow the opportunity for suspects of multiple murders to kill themselves, but this case may not apply in that it should facilitate other suspects who were all under her mind control to open up and hopefully confess the details.

  • 0

    Sherman

    What is it about the Japanese murderer and concrete? They never seem to succeed in disposing of bodies this way.

  • -5

    Seirei Tobimatsu

    Female of the species deadlier than the male. Who could she have wanted to take the rap for?

  • 0

    nikkeiboy

    I'm a little ignorant and this is off topic. But what other kind of husband is there than a "common-law husband"? I see this printed in articles now and then and just wondered why they don't just write "husband".

  • 0

    Ronald F Stark

    The toilet of humanity has flushed once again!

  • 1

    Vernie Jefferies

    Her death seems rather suspicious and convenient. Self strangulation while sleeping on the floor...yeah right. It's not reported here, but there were two others staying in her cell at the time.

  • -3

    Marilita Fabie-Fujisawa

    Just shows how low the value of life is here in Japan...had the authorities cared she would have been in a suicidal watch, or better yet, counselling and looking deeply into the reasons and motives of her actions...that is one reason why the people concerned are forever amateurs in dealing in just about anything!

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    No suicide watch here? or do they just not care?

  • 3

    FightingViking

    Good riddance to bad rubbish...

    @nikkeiboy

    "common-law husband"?

    One who is not legally married.

  • 0

    Cos

    I wish she had lived. Not for her sake, but for the relatives of the persons she killed. They deserved a trial, hearing her answer to the questions and be sentenced.

    But what other kind of husband is there than a "common-law husband"?

    A husband. CLH is an archaic term, inappropriately used to mean the person she was living with, unmarried.

  • 0

    Patric Spohn

    She was probably killed as no justice could have found her killing anyone by simply mind controlling others to kill for her. To my knowledge mind control is not a crime as it cannot be categorized medically.

  • 0

    Aída Posadas

    @smithinjapan

    No suicide watch here? or do they just not care?

    Or I wonder if deep inside japanese still give the oportunity of suicide, like in ancient times the "harikiri" was for matters of honor...? (or maybe I'm wrong, it's just a question / point of view).

  • 1

    DentShop

    I've always been told that it was impossible to strangle oneself. Exception to every rule I guess.

  • 4

    BurakuminDes

    It is a shame that this grubby, ugly beast was not executed and was allowed to kill her worthless self. Burn in hell, witch.

    Rest in Peace to the poor victims.

  • 0

    Yuichi Kitagawa

    This case is very special and powerful.

  • 2

    ubikwit

    She was a somewhat rare individual embodying the combination of both psychopath and sociopath in a lethal package.

    Good riddance.

  • 4

    Carcharodon

    I know it's rather ghoulish, but I'd rather have been reading a headline in a year or too, "The Amagasaki demon swings " not after squeezing as much out of her as possible. Criminal psychologists must have been fascinated with her thought processes. Alas, she's gone. Good riddance.

  • 0

    genkigonzo

    What? You can't strangle yourself to death. How did that happen?

  • 2

    Manami Medoruma

    Her death doesn't make sense. She had done many horrible things, so she should be punished in jail more long time and make atonement for her sins. I feel sorry for the families of victims. I hope the police wouldn’t do make the same mistake twice.

  • 0

    Jeannie Kathleen P A

    I guess that some others are becoming paranoid from this place. Amagasaki's reputation been suffering enough from the past, and now from this hideous event...

  • 0

    Jeannie Kathleen P A

    Living here in Amagasaki city....so sad to know such. We have many elderly people around here. The images of elders are good and gentle. Not like this one... ahh...really sad!!

  • 0

    Amidalism

    She was under what they consider suicide watch in Japan they stated on the news last night. Asides from putting her in a cell with two others (who I guess they assume are going to be responsible and try and prevent any attempts??) they had guards walk past the cell every 15 minutes. As strangulation is the main cause of prison suicides they said that if you are able to catch the person within 15 minutes the chance of them ressusitating is quite high. She apparently always took her shirt off when she was sleeping, so it wouldn't have appeared out of the ordinary and she had her futon blanket on top covering so they were unable to see what she had done. I didn't know it was possible to choke yourself to death, but I won't lose any sleep over her doing so. One less person to live out the rest of their days on death row wasting our tax money.

  • 0

    Cos

    You can't strangle yourself to death.

    Maybe you can't, but many people (particularly kids and teens) did it already.

  • 0

    AkariYoshida

    To me I would also suspect people around her. Someone may have wanted to kill her for the things she did or may have wanted to shut her up/ get back at her by hiring someone to kill her. This may just be me as a skeptical person, but i don't like to make a final decision until all the facts are before me

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