Misaki-san, who died in the mountains… 3 years after the outbreak, “Special Background of the Difficult Search” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Misaki-san, who died in the mountains… 3 years after the outbreak, “Special Background of the Difficult Search”

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On April 29, Tomoko visited the mountain where the site was located and gave an interview to the press. She was holding a stuffed animal that Misaki had cherished.

The results of the evaluation were sad.

On May 14, the Yamanashi Prefectural Police announced that the DNA type of a scapula found in the mountains of Doshi-mura matched that of the missing Misaki Ogura. The prefectural police explained, “Since the scapula is a vital part of the body, we determined that Misaki was dead. Although the cause of death has not been determined, the family has been informed of the results of the evaluation.

Misaki, who was 7 years old at the time, went missing at a campground in Doshi-mura, Yamanashi Prefecture, in September 2007. Her guardians reported the incident to the police on the same day. An investigation was launched into both the incident and the accident.

A total of 1,700 people, including the Self-Defense Forces, were involved in the search. However, despite searching the area for 16 days, we could not find any clues. We also checked the family’s friendships, but there was no information that would lead us to suspect a case. The month after Misaki went missing, the large-scale search was temporarily halted.

700,000 leaflets distributed to provide information

Even after the search was called off, Misaki’s mother, Tomoko, 39, continued to search for her daughter by visiting the campground frequently. She distributed 700,000 leaflets at nearby “roadside stations” and other locations. She frequently appeared in the media, asking for information. In an interview with “FRIDAY” (December 2008), Tomoko expressed her feelings.

It’s been more than a year, and I think she’s grown taller now. As a parent, I feel so sorry for not being able to watch her grow up, and I feel very sorry for my daughter as well.

Things took a sudden turn in April of this year. A volunteer found a piece of a head bone in the mountains about 600 meters east of the campsite. The prefectural police announced that the results of the mitochondrial DNA analysis were “consistent with being related to the mother. They also conducted a DNA analysis of the shoulder blade found in May and determined that Misaki had died.

Nearly three years have passed since Misaki went missing. Why, despite a massive search, had no important clues been discovered until now? Former Tokushima Prefectural Police detective and crime commentator Hiroyasu Akiyama explains.

Of course, it is human nature, so it is not impossible that something could have been overlooked. However, the police are not cutting corners. In March 1989, I was involved in the case of a four-year-old boy who went missing in the mountains of Tokushima Prefecture. Nearly 100 people, including volunteers, spent a month frantically searching all over the mountains. However, more than 30 years after the boy went missing, he still has not been found.

There are two main reasons for the difficulty of the search: One is the large amount of water. The second is wildlife. Often, saliva found on human bones is identified as that of a wild animal. In other words, animals can pick up bones and carry them off to distant places.

The cause of Misaki’s death has not been determined. Whether it was an incident or an accident is not yet clear. Akiyama said that the key to finding Misaki’s body will be the clothes she was wearing and the bones that have not yet been discovered.

It has been almost three years since she went missing, and there are concerns about the state of preservation, but the clothes usually retain important elements. First is the manner of damage. There may be marks that look like animal bites, a sodden torn or buttons blown off in a fight with someone, or a buttock that has been slashed from a slip and fall. …… The way it is damaged is an important clue.

Bones are also important. If the victim was stabbed with a knife or other object, the tip of the blade is always left in the bone. If there are pieces of the blade in the bones, or if there are marks that look like they were cut by a saw, it means there is a very high probability that she was involved in the incident.”

As for Misaki-san, only part of the truth has been revealed. The police plan to continue investigating both the incident and the accident.

  • Photo by Shinji Hasuo

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