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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

With 'faith' in police, Hawkers return home

Staff writer

Slain Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker's family left Japan on Monday disappointed that her suspected killer remains at large but not angry at police over what appears to be a stalled investigation.

Bill Hawker holds a poster with photos of Tatsuya Ichihashi, the man suspected of killing his daughter Lindsay Ann in March, in Tokyo with his wife, Julia, and daughter Louise
Bill Hawker holds a poster with photos of Tatsuya Ichihashi, the man suspected of killing his daughter Lindsay Ann in March, on Sunday in Tokyo with his wife, Julia (right), and daughter Louise. JUN HONGO PHOTO

"We are not here to criticize the police. We must have faith in the police," Hawker's father, Bill, told The Japan Times in an interview Sunday.

Lindsay, a 22-year-old English-language teacher at a Nova Corp. school, was found March 26 suffocated and buried naked in a sand-filled bathtub at Tatsuya Ichihashi's Chiba apartment. Ichihashi, 28, who had reportedly been asking Lindsay for private English lessons and stalking her, slipped away barefoot from several officers who came to question him that night.

"Honestly, I do not know how the police were positioned, but he has (escaped)," Bill Hawker said, refraining from passing judgment on the getaway on grounds that the detectives are treating the hunt for Ichihashi as their highest priority.

"It wouldn't be fair to the police (to criticize them) because they have been working so hard," Lindsay's mother, Julia, said.

The family also noted that two detectives from Warwickshire, Britain, have accompanied Japanese police in their investigation and affirmed that the inquiry was being conducted the way any murder would be investigated in their home country.

Lindsay's parents and her sister, Louise, had been in Japan since Wednesday making live TV appearances and speaking with the media to raise the profile of their daughter's murder and the Ichihashi manhunt. They were also briefed by Chiba police on the investigation, which has had no significant developments in the last three months.

"The police have told us that it has been difficult to trace Ichihashi because he was a loner and distanced himself from everyone and only had a few friends. He never had a job. They are trying to trace him back, but there is not a lot of people to trace," Bill Hawker said.

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The Japan Times

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