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Saturday, June 30, 2007
Hawker's parents get show of support from suspect's family
By JUN HONGO
Family members of slain British teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker said Friday they had been contacted by the family of her suspected killer, Tatsuya Ichihashi, and offered condolences for their tragic loss.
Julia Hawker, the mother of 22-year-old Lindsay, who was found suffocated and buried naked in a sand-filled bathtub at Ichihashi's Chiba apartment in March, revealed that the suspected killer's family "sent through a statement sending their condolences, saying that they hoped their son (atones) for his crime."
She also said during a news conference at the British Embassy in Tokyo that Ichihashi's family supported the Hawkers' appeal to have the suspect arrested and brought to justice.
Ichihashi, 28, who was unemployed, lived in the Chiba Prefecture apartment where Lindsay's body was found but bolted barefoot past several officers on March 26 when they went to question him about the Briton's disappearance.
Gyotoku Police Station detectives sought Ichihashi at his apartment that night after receiving a missing persons report on Lindsay and obtaining a memo from her roommates with the suspect's name, phone number and a sketch of her that he drew after she previously let him into her flat, even though he was apparently stalking her.
Police claimed the officers were properly positioned when they knocked on Ichihashi's door, but the suspect, who ran track in high school, slipped away.
Lindsay's parents and her younger sister, Louise, arrived in Japan on Wednesday to raise the profile of the case three months after the murder and to exchange information with police regarding the stalled investigation. "The (Japanese) police pledged to catch this man," Lindsay's father, Bill, said, maintaining his confidence that Ichihashi will be captured.
"If anybody is harboring (Ichihashi), they must come forward because he is a disgrace to the society," he added.
The National Police Agency announced Thursday that a maximum of 1 million yen reward will be offered for information leading to the arrest of Ichihashi. Two police officers from Warwickshire, England, have been in Tokyo since earlier this month to assist the Hawker family.
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