Classmates' reunion ended in horror tale

Classmates' reunion ended in horror tale
This picture taken on May 23, 2014 shows rental storage units where the body of 29-year-old nurse Rika Okada was found in Tokyo on May 22.

SINGAPORE - It apparently started as a typical modern-day reunion - two former classmates finding each other on Facebook 10 years after they last met.

It ended more like the plot of a twisted horror story: the body of one of the women turning up in a Tokyo storage lock-up after it had been sent across Japan by parcel delivery marked as a doll.

Police say Ms Rika Okada, a 29-year-old nurse, may have been the target of her ex-classmate's plan to steal her identity.

Ms Okada had been excited about meeting an old friend, a classmate from primary and secondary school and a second-generation Japanese from Brazil whose name has been withheld. They had reconnected through social media in January.

"I received a message from a classmate I haven't seen for a long time," Ms Okada wrote on Facebook and in messages to friends on a mobile phone app called Line. The two subsequently met at a Japanese izakaya, or tavern, in Osaka in February.

Ms Okada was last seen alive on March 21 leaving her hospital workplace in Osaka. On May 21, her body was found in the lock-up, wrapped tightly in a plastic sheet, the better, it is believed, to keep the smell under control.

When the "doll parcel" arrived on March 25 at the Tokyo apartment where Ms Okada's ex-classmate was living, neighbours had complained about an "awful smell in the lift", almost giving the game away.

This was about the only miss as the details unearthed by police revealed cold, calculated planning in the way the body was disposed of and in the cover-up of the crime.

Police found the body only because the parcel was posted in Ms Okada's name, and they were just following the trail for clues.

According to the autopsy report, there were multiple stab wounds in Ms Okada's chest, stomach and back but no defensive hand or arm injuries.

Police have classified the case as murder. Their investigations and the autopsy revealed that Ms Okada was probably killed one or two days after March 21.

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