In a grisly tale, The New York Times reports Takahiro Shiraishi, 27, was arrested in Zama prefecture, Japan, 48km outside of Tokyo, after police found nine severed heads in coolers in his apartment. Shiraishi reportedly used Twitter to find women who’d expressed suicidal thoughts over the service, murdering and decapitating them. Shiraishi has also admitted to sexually assaulting some of the women.
Eight of Shiraishi’s victims were women; the lone male was the boyfriend of a victim who went to Shiraishi’s apartment looking for her. Shiraishi didn’t resist when police arrived to question him, reportedly replying “[she’s] in that cooler” when asked for information about one of the missing women.
Though investigations are still early, suicidal tendencies seem to be the connecting thread among Shiraishi’s victims. Police first encountered him while investigating the disappearance of a 23-year-old woman. Reported missing on October 24 by her brother, the woman appeared on security footage from a train station speaking to Shiraishi the night before. On Twitter, she wrote she was “looking for someone who will die with me”. Shiraishi replied to the woman’s tweet, telling her, “Let’s die together.”
Japan has the third highest suicide rate among developed nations. The federal government now monitors suicide-related messaging boards and also subsidises suicide-prevention campaigns throughout the country.
If depression is affecting you or someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.