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Teen girl arrested in connection with mother’s murder

Date Posted: 2009-02-21

A 15-year-old Kitanakagusuku Village girl is in police custody, charged with putting her dead mother’s body in a closet, then running away from home.
Police say the case is complex, and more charges could be filed as the investigation unfolds. The teenager’s mother was murdered, police say, and the body discovered by the woman’s estranged husband. The woman had been strangled by what police believe was a piece of cord or rope.
The high school girl and her mother lived on the second floor of a home in Kitanakagusuku, while her father lived on the first floor. The couple lived separately, including having private entrances to the two homes. The husband and father, Morihiro Gushiken, says he last heard from his wife on January 11th, when she sent him an email from his daughter’s cell phone telling him “I am going to visit a relative with our daughter”.
After a few days, a worried Gushiken telephoned the relative, only to learn his wife and daughter were not there. He then reported the two missing on January 27th. Although Gushiken lived apart from his wife, he tended to the woman’s cat, and on February 17th the 45-year-old Gushiken entered the wife’s home and discovered a foul odor. Moments later, he tracked the smell to a decomposing body in a closet.
The body was so decomposed, police say, that Gushiken did not recognize it as being his wife. Identification was made by DNA. Police intensified the search for the still-missing daughter, finally tracking her down at a hotel in Hiyane District of Okinawa City, where she was living with a man in his 20’s. Interviews with the teenager turned up inconsistencies and contradictions in stories, with the girl first telling police he’d told her friends “my mother died in a car accident in the middle of January.”
The girl changed her story with police, saying “she strangled herself and I found her dead.” Asked why she ran away and began cohabiting with an older man instead of reporting her mother’s death, she said “I found my mother dead in the room, but I didn’t know what to do, so I just put the body inside the closet.”
Police say their investigation is continuing, and that they still believe the girl knows more than she’s admitting. The young man, meanwhile, is being investigating for having relations with an underage girl.

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