It is now two months since Japanese pannist Asami Nagakiya was killed and her body dumped at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Asami’s death remains a statistic at the Police Homicide Bureau, who seems more concerned at establishing a Cold Case Unit to deal with murders 20 years and over.
What about recent murders? What about the “hot” cases? The detection rate for murders is less than nine percent.
It is clear that the Homicide Bureau is understaffed and unable to cope with the number of murders. As investigators start to investigate one murder, another occurs and the previous case goes on the back burner, a source at the Homicide Bureau stated.
Otherwise, they would have arrested Asami’s killer who is well known to them. The suspect, a relative of a bandleader, is walking around the Woodbrook and Newtown areas free as a bird, knowing he won’t be hounded down and captured.
What a pity, say the residents of Newtown, the area of Asami’s last footsteps.
On Carnival Tuesday, 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.
According to reports, Geoff Adams, of Tamana, was walking through the area when he noticed a homeless man screaming while pointing at a patch of bush under a tree, a mere metres away from Queen’s Royal College. When Adams checked he discovered Nagakiya’s body and later went to the St Clair Police Station were he made a report.
Asami’s body was flown back to Japan two weeks later.
On March 8, 2014, Asami wrote on her face book page:
“Dear my friends living in Trinidad. I came home safely. In this journey, companion of many is waiting for me, and gave me a warm welcome. I was able to meet new friends as well, and was able to get a great experience at the same time. I sincerely love Trinidad, even if I don’t go to the beach, don’t take a rest, I feel that I can play the steel pan is happiness above all.
“Especially to play the pan together is the happiness of my best now. I was away from the irreplaceable friends, it is feeling like a hole in my heart empty. Parting of the third year is the most painful ever. Plz contact me at anytime. I also. U r away, but U r all my friends all the time.”