Police yesterday said they have found the grave of a Japanese woman who had been missing for more than a month.
Five suspects were also arrested in connection with her death, the reason for which is still uncertain. The detainees claimed that the woman had died of diarrhoea.
Hiroe Miyata, 60, was first reported missing when Japanese Embassy’s Vice Consul Kosuke Matsunaga lodged a general diary with Uttara East police station on October 19 over her disappearance, said a senior DMP official on condition of anonymity.
The embassy acted after Miyata’s mother Makiko Harabayashi notified them from Japan of not being able to contact her daughter in Dhaka.
Following a month-long investigation, the police arrested five suspects on Sunday who later informed the police about Miyata’s grave at Uttara graveyard.
According to graveyard documents, the grave belongs to a woman buried on October 29. The police said they suspect that the Japanese national was first abducted and then killed by the suspects over monetary issues.
The arrestees are: Maruful Islam, Rashedul Haque, Fakhrul Islam, Dr Bimol Chandra Sheel and Jahangir Hossain. Police sources said they had a garment business together with Miyata.
A Dhaka court yesterday placed the suspects on a four-day remand and set November 26 for hearing a police plea on exhuming Miyata’s body for autopsy.
Seeking anonymity, police officials said the detainees claimed in primary interrogation that Miyata had died after suffering from diarrhoea. As she was living in Bangladesh without a valid visa, the suspects decided to identify her as a Muslim and buried her at Uttara graveyard.
According to the police, Miyata had been living in Bangladesh illegally since her visa expired in 2006.
Uttara graveyard officials Abdul Kuddus and Monirul Islam said the grave was registered under a 74-year-old woman named Halima Khatun, wife of Abul Mridha and daughter of Hajera Begum. Around 12 to 15 people had come to bury the woman.
Police sources also quoted the arrestees as saying that Miyata had been living at Uttara’s Hotel City Homes but recently moved to a rented house in Bashundhara residential area.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, the hotel’s Director Ayub Ahmed said he had no knowledge about Miyata as he had joined the establishment recently. Two receptionists there, Arafat Choudhory and Ratna, also gave the same answer when they were asked about Miyata. They, however, added that the police had recently come to the hotel to collect some documents.
Meanwhile, the security guard at the house where Miyata reportedly moved to from the hotel, told the Dhaka Tribune that he saw the Japanese woman come to house more than a month and a half ago, accompanied by a flat owner named Fakrul. After that first day, the guard – Ujjal Kha – did not see her again.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday cancelled a scheduled press conference regarding the Miyata case without giving any explanation.
DMP Deputy Commissioner (media & publication) Muntasirul Islam said the briefing had been cancelled following instructions from high officials.