92-Year-Old Woman Beaten to Death in Nursing Home while Care her Worker Fled to Hokkaido | FRIDAY DIGITAL

92-Year-Old Woman Beaten to Death in Nursing Home while Care her Worker Fled to Hokkaido

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Suspect Kikuchi transported from Hokkaido

Suspicious man on emergency stairs.

It was around 1:30 p.m. on September 25 when a 110 call came in from a resident of an apartment building in Shiroishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido. When Hokkaido police officers arrived on the scene, they found a well-built man wearing a white shirt and dark pants. The man tried to jump from the stairs on the 11th floor of the apartment building, and the officers rushed to subdue him. Judging from his clothes and face, the police determined that he was a wanted suspect and arrested him on the spot.

The suspect arrested was Takashi Kikuchi, 50, a care worker at Ukima Kohitsujien, a special nursing home for the elderly in Ukima, Kita-ku, Tokyo. Kikuchi was suspected of murdering Yoko Yamanobe, 92, a resident of the home, between late at night on September 15 and early morning on September 16. After the incident, Kikuchi fled the scene of the crime, and the Metropolitan Police Department’s Investigation Division 1 has issued a nationwide manhunt for him. Kikuchi has confessed to the crime.

Kikuchi began working as a caregiver about five years ago, working five nights a week, and was assigned to Ms. Yamanobe starting this summer. Ms. Yamanobe entered the facility in July. When asked by the investigators, Kikuchi said, “The idiot told me to go home, so I slapped her twice on the head.” When he was rebuffed, he got angry and hit her.

According to Kikuchi, Yamanobe had kicked him in the leg before. On the day of the incident, he was told, ‘I have a sore spot,’ but he couldn’t find anything abnormal and cursed at him. Stressed out, he said, ‘My anger escalated.’ He stated, ‘I thought I had enough it, and I was in a state of lethargy.'”

‘She became unresponsive, so I poured boiling water on her.’

Suspect Kikuchi transported from Hokkaido (some images have been doctored)

At around 7:00 a.m. on September 16, another staff member found Yamanobe lying on the floor with blood pouring from her head. She was immediately transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The condition of Yamanobe’s body revealed the severity of the assault by Kikuchi.

The body was found to have suffered multiple fractures of the thoracic vertebrae, arms, and other parts of the body, as well as bleeding in several places. She also had burn marks on her face, chest, and back from being doused with boiling water. Kikuchi testified: “She hit me in the face with her bare hands and pulled my hair. I also broke the bones in her arms and chest. When she became unresponsive, I thought that if I poured hot water on her, she would wake up, so I poured boiling water from a kettle on her. The cause of Yamanobe’s death was cervical spinal cord and brainstem injuries.”

Immediately after the crime, Kikuchi disappeared. The following is a description of Kikuchi’s movements as revealed by security camera footage. He took a cab from near the facility, got off near JR Shinjuku Station, and withdrew 820,000 yen in cash from a convenience store. After visiting saunas in Ueno and other places in the Kanto region, he took a train to JR Morioka Station in Iwate Prefecture. The destination was Hokkaido.

Perhaps to distract investigators, he went to Abiko City, Chiba Prefecture, and Tsukubamirai City, Ibaraki Prefecture, before returning to Tokyo. His escape lasted nearly 10 days.

The suspect Kikuchi is said to have told the following reasons for his trip to Hokkaido. I wanted to go to Hokkaido, where I used to live and have been there before. I wanted to commit suicide in Hokkaido. At the time of the discovery in Sapporo, Kikuchi was in possession of a knife with a blade of approximately 10 cm in length. There was a cut on his neck and his shirt was stained black, probably from blood.

Kikuchi was so upset by the magnitude of the crime he had committed that he fled to Hokkaido. Yamanobe’s family members told the press, “We cannot forgive the culprit. I hope he will be punished properly and reflect on his crime.”

Suspect Kikuchi transported from Hokkaido (some images have been doctored)
Suspect Kikuchi transferred from Hokkaido (image has been partially processed)
  • Photo by Shinji Hasuo

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