Asami gone, but not forgotten… Friends hold memorial at murder scene

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Her life was snuffed out two months ago, but friends and associates of murdered Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya remembered her on Sunday afternoon with a memorial on the same spot where she was strangled to death.
Asami could not have asked for a better tribute as close friends of two steelbands, and members of a third, were present, along with a full complement of media personnel. Even pan enthusiast, Martin Daly SC and his wife Kavita, were present for the one-hour long memorial.
Asami may be a murder statistic, but to her friends, she was a gem of a person. She was described as a very soft person with a kind heart.
To date, no one has been charged with her murder, although a suspect is known to the police.
More than 100 persons, representing two bands where Asami played during her numerous visits to Trinidad. They came from Silver Stars and Phase II Pan Groove. 
Michael Joseph spoke on behalf of Pan Trinbago, while radio personality, Vanessa Herbert, rendered a poem. Marcus Ash, described as one of Asami’s closest friends, spoke on behalf of Silver Stars members. He said since her death, it has been hard speaking about her.
The Codrington family band members were present, and band manager Carrie Codrington said his family teamed up with two of Asami’s Japanese friends to hold the memorial.
Several persons were brought to tears when the Codrington band played Michael Jackson’s “You are not alone” The band even played one of Asami’s compositions.
There is always a saying that the killer returns to the scene of the crime, yet still not a police officer was present in case “a person of interest” was present at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Several persons who were present on Sunday afternoon, expressed disgust that Asami’s murder remains unsolved, although the police have a suspect in their sights.
A few persons said they know the suspect and have seen him in Port-of-Spain and environs in recent times. They hope Asami’s killing will not be another suspect on the police files.
On Carnival Tuesday,  February 9, Asami played mas for the first and last time. Dressed in a beaded yellow costume, Asami was last seen at the Silvers Stars mas camp on Tragarete Road, Port-of-Spain.
She left there around 7.30 pm in the company of a young man who wanted to escort her home. At that time, Asami and four other Japanese girls were staying in an apartment at Picton Court, Newtown.
Asami, 30, and the young man were seen walking north along Picton Street. She arrived at Picton Court, but did not see her friends. Still dressed in her yellow bikini costume, Asami and the young man headed to the Queen’s Park Savannah with the intention of walking to St Ann’s. They made one stop at Pollo Tropical.
They then crossed the road and sat on a bench opposite Queen’s Royal College. One passerby remembered seeing the Japanese musician sitting on the bench. Another saw her and the young man arguing, but no one saw what happened next. That area around the Savannah was busy on Carnival Tuesday night. There were people buying coconut water, others taking a rest after playing mas. Two-way traffic was building up around the Savannah, as people started their journey home.
So nobody saw when Asami and her escort walked into the darkness of the Savannah. During that night Asami’s Japanese friends realised she did not return to her apartment. The next morning, according to sources, they went in search of Asami, checking all her associates as well as players in Silver Stars.
No one saw her and it was a big mystery for the Japanese friends. It was not until later on Ash Wednesday that the girls heard that a body was found in the Savannah. They enquired and their worst fears were realised.
Police said when her body was first discovered it appeared that she had died of natural causes, as there was one small abrasion on her chin. However, 24 hours later, the marks of violence surfaced and it was clear that the pannist was murdered. 
Her autopsy confirmed the suspicions and concluded that she was manually strangled. Officers said around the woman’s neck and chest were several black and blue markings, suggesting she came to a violent end with little or no resistance, as she had no defensive wounds and beneath her nails there was no evidence of tissue from her killer. The autopsy also confirmed that she was not sexually abused.

Photo captions: Scenes from the memorial held for Asami Nagakiya on Sunday afternoon at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

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