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Prefectural police ponder clues in double homicide investigation

Date Posted: 2005-08-27

The brutal slayings of an elderly taxi driver and his wife little more than a week ago has police still scrambling to find witnesses and suspects.

The couple was found in the trunk of a car, hanging precipitously over a cliff near Higashi Village on the north end of the island. The two had been beaten, then wrapped and tied with tape and a water hose. Taxi driver Shoujiro Tamamura and his wife Hideko lived in Nishihara Town.

Talks with witnesses let to the arrest of a man picked up hitchhiking near the crime scene. The man, together with a woman, was given a ride to the Nago Bus Station, where they subsequently took a bus to Okinawa City. The car picking the duo up recalls the man had only one slipper shoe. The bus driver recalled the pair, saying they were acting suspiciously.

Police announced they’d found a single slipper shoe at the murder scene.

Fingerprints from the crime scene and the bus revealed the suspect’s name. Takezou Yonekura was taken into custody and questioned. The 65-year-old denies any knowledge of the crime, insisting “I don’t know. I didn’t kill him. I have no idea why the blanket has my fingerprints.” Police had processed fingerprints from inside the car, and also from the blanket in which one of the victims was wrapped. They say other fingerprints, still unidentified, are on the blanket.

Police are looking for the woman who accompanied Yonekura. Yonakura is from Ginowan City, and investigators say he was lending money to the dead couple.

Investigation is also centering on financial dealings of the two victims. Police now say the couple had a Y50,000,000 ($470,000) loan with a so called sarakin company, a credit loan company.

Reports are that Sarakin workers visited the snack owned by Hideko Tamamura and took all the daily income money in the shop. One snack worker says she’s moving away now, as she also has loans.

Investigators say they’re looking into other angles of the couple’s financial dealings. They say there appear to have been other business dealings by the couple, all of which have been failures.

More than 100 police investigators and crime scene specialists are on the case, canvassing neighborhoods looking for any possible leads. They are also looking into reports the victims’ car may have been seen early the morning of August 13th near Ginoza Village, heading toward Higashi Village.

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