Police officers following the lead for a missing woman stumbled upon the headless bodies of 9 people with their flesh stripped off in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Tokyo on Tuesday, Oct. 31, Yahoo News reported.
Investigators say eight of the bodies are female and one is male, NHK reported. Investigators found two severed heads in a cooler at the entrance of the second-floor apartment in Zama City before making the rest of the grim discoveries, Japan Times reported. Eventually, the heads of all nine bodies were found in coolers and other locations.
Police searched the home on Tuesday after arresting 27-year old Takahiro Shiraishi in connection to a missing 23-year-old woman from Hachioji, Tokyo.
The woman met Shiraishi online after she posted messages about wanting to commit suicide, but being scared to do so alone. The woman’s brother reported her missing on Oct. 24 after losing contact with her on Oct. 21. The brother logged into a suicide website the woman posted on using her credentials and found messages from Shiraishi.
Police say Shiraishi admitted to killing the 23-year-old woman the first time he met her. The man also said that he killed all nine people found in his apartment since he moved in late August.
A search of the apartment turned up a saw that was used to dismember the bodies. Shiraishi told police that he hacked the flesh and organs off the bodies in his bathroom and disposed of everything in the trash. The man also said he sprinkled the remains with cat litter to cover up the smell.
“It’s true that I tried to hide the bodies of the people I killed to destroy evidence,” local media quoted Shiraishi telling the police.
Japanese police used blue tarps to cover views of the building as media swarmed the area. The windows of the 2nd-floor apartment were also covered as investigators worked the scene.
Police plan to use DNA testing to determine the identities of the bodies.
Surveillance footage shows Shiraishi walking with the 23-year-old woman last Monday, Oct. 23. He reportedly admitted to taking money from his victims and that the theft was part of his motive.
The man’s neighbors were shocked to learn of the grim discovery.
“It’s really cruel. He used a saw to dismember the bodies or something. He must be abnormal to have done such things,” said Hideaki Hosogaya, 83.
“I thought it smelled like sewage,” another neighbor told Japan Times. “It was something I never smelled before.”
Another neighbor described Shiraishi as “a cheerful, kind and polite man.”
A neighbor who recently moved next to the home of Shiraishi’s family said he often saw Shiraishi outside late at night.
“He was sitting in front of the door and looking at his cellphone,” he said. “It felt creepy.”
Twitter users drew the connection between the grisly scene and Halloween.
“Nine dismembered bodies found on the day of Halloween,” one user wrote. “Humans are definitely scarier than ghosts.”
“What a psychotic event on Halloween,” another user tweeted. “I don’t think I could bear 10 minutes with nine dead bodies around.”