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Missing barber’s body found in waste dump

Date Posted: 2008-04-18

Police are calling it a murder-suicide, with a father first killing his son, then hanging himself.

The body of Tomotaro Atsuta, a barber from Ozato in Nanjo City, was found Monday in a garbage dump in Nanjo City’s Tamagusuku district, eight days after he went missing. An autopsy showed he’d been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument that fractured his skull.

Police suspected Atsuta’s father, because he’d disappeared after being picked up at his barber shop by the father. Less than 48 hours later, police found the father’s body in his car, dead apparently by hanging himself with a rope.

Initially, police suspected the son had killed his father, then disappeared, following an angry family situation. Atsuta had failed to show up at the family home for “Seimeisai”, a religious celebration where Okinawans gather to pay homage to their ancestors and go to the family grave to pray for them. Many of the family relatives attended, some traveling great distance, but Atsuta didn’t make an appearance. Police say the father became very angry, demanding to know “why my son is not here,” telling others attending “he must come to the grave.”

The father left the family gathering and went to the barber shop, where he and his son were last seen together. Police, who first concluded Atsuta had murdered his father, now say it was just the opposite.

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