CHIBA – Tatsuya Ichihashi was served a fresh arrest warrant Wednesday on suspicion of raping and killing Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker, after being charged earlier in the day with abandoning her body.
The 30-year-old was arrested on Nov. 10 in Osaka following more than 2 1/2 years on the run since Hawker was found strangled and stuffed in a tub on the balcony of his apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, in 2007.
Although Ichihashi has remained silent about the murder, the police believe he killed the 22-year-old language teacher and the murder warrant was so served on the last day of his detention period authorized under the initial arrest on the technical offense of abandoning a corpse.
Ichihashi went to his apartment with Hawker and was there when the police called on him on March 26, 2007, according to investigators. He then fled from officers at the scene, and they subsequently found Hawker’s body inside the sand-filled bathtub.
During his 32 months on the run, Ichihashi used a false name to work at different construction firms and altered his face by plastic surgery.
One of the clinics that conducted surgery on Ichihashi tipped off the police and provided a photograph of his postsurgery face, which was then widely published and broadcast.
Shortly after the picture was released, Ichihashi was spotted at a ferry terminal in Osaka while waiting for a ship bound for Okinawa and was arrested by police after they received a call from the ferry operator.
Chiba police followed their usual procedure in first arresting him on technical charges and serving another warrant to extend the period of detention in order to question him on the main charge of murder, for which he has refused to speak.
On the day of Ichihashi’s arrest, Bill Hawker, the father of the murdered woman, said his family had “got justice” and hoped he would admit to what he had done.