Japan’s Goldilocks Killer
One of Japan’s most horrific UNSOLVED murders has been dubbed the Goldilocks Killings and involves the innocent slaughter of an entire family.
Just over 24 years old - the case remains unsolved and elusive which has caused investigators to scratch their heads and left the Japanese public in a state of fear. The killings occurred on the 30th December 2000 and the bodies were discovered on New Year's Day 2001.
It gripped and horrified a prosperous Japan that was a year into a new century.
So, let’s delve into what we know about the Goldilocks Killings - The Setagaya family murder.
Setagaya is one of the largest districts in Tokyo. It is a very suburban, tranquil and peaceful region. There are low crime rates and have never experienced something like this before.
As suggested by the name, the killings consisted of a home invasion, where an intruder did not just murder the entire family, he also ate their food, used their toilet, used their bath and slept in their bed.
This is similar to the fabled Goldilocks, who overstayed her welcome in the bears’ house.
On the 30th December 2000, in Tokyo, Japan - Mikio Miyiyazawa and his wife Yasuko, alongside their two children, Niina and Rei were killed in their own home. The killer stabbed Mikio using a sashimi knife until his knife broke.
Yasuko was stabbed in the chest and head, so brutally that her bones were on full display after her body was found.
It was Yasuko’s mother, who lived adjacent to the family, that found the bodies on that New Year’s Eve Morning. The body of Mikio was lying at the bottom of the stairs, drenched in blood. Once she got to the top of the stairs, she saw her granddaughter's dead body on top of her daughter.
Rei’s body was on the bunk bed in the other bedroom and he was the only victim who wasn’t stabbed - and instead, he was strangled. It seemed that Rei was killed first. Mikio may have put up a fight to save Rei, as suggested by the evidence.
It was the murderer’s odd behaviour after the killing that led to the unfortunate moniker of the “Goldilocks Killer”.
The killer ate four small containers of ice cream and drank several bottles of tea (that belonged to the Miyazawa family). Unbelievably the killer surfed the internet (allegedly tried to buy theatre tickets) and some of the evidence suggests that the killer may have taken a long nap in the house.
He went to the toilet in the Miyazawa family home but didn’t flush and left the contents of his dinner for all to see. He walked blood through the entirety of the home, left behind an awful lot of DNA evidence and yet, still has not been caught.
The killer left a lot of evidence - such as the following:
Blood and bloodstains.
A used sanitary napkin soaked in the killer’s blood.
The forensics were able to determine that the killer was 5 feet 6, slender, Type A Blood, Right-Handed and age ranged between 15 and 35 years old.
The killer may not have been Japanese based on the ancestry of the DNA, the shoe brand was not sold in Japan and strangely there were grains of sand left behind that originated from the USA (but also suggested originating in South Korea) - reports vary.
Police believe that the killer entered through the second-floor bathroom and left the same way. Rei slept in the adjacent bedroom and may have been the first target.
The Japanese police have had nearly a quarter of a million tips and leads from the Japanese public, but all investigations have thus far drawn a blank to this very day.
Mikio Miyazawa was forty-four years old. He worked for Interbrand, which was a London-based firm. He was based in Tokyo for work and was described as 'congenial' by his colleagues. Mikio was liked and well-respected. He worked an office job and seemed fairly affluent and middle-class.
His wife Yasuko was also very similar in temperament. She was described as kind and compassionate. She was a teacher and spent a lot of her time with the couple's children who were eight and six years old.
The youngest son Rei had a speech impediment, which caused a bit of stress for the family.
The family had lived in the area for 11 years, moving there in 1990. The area that they lived in was rapidly developing and was becoming busier.
The house itself shared a building split into two, the other house is where Yasuko's mother lived. with Yasuko's sister and brother. The houses were sufficiently split, which meant that nobody could have seen or heard the massacre on one side of the partition where Yasuko's mother lived. They were totally oblivious.
A week before the murder, Mikio had an altercation with a teenage gang. A witness who saw the confrontation said that the gang belonged to the Bosozoku - a Japanese Hell's Angels type gang.
What could conceivably be the motive for such a disturbing case?
One of the strangest theories is the fact that the family patriarch Mikio was always squabbling with the skaters on the skatepark near their property - as mentioned, the gang were connected to a motorcycle gang and could have had more violent intent than Mikio first assumed. There is speculation that the killer was a disgruntled skateboarder.
Mikio was hacked off about the constant noise in his house coming from the teens and did not see eye to eye with the rebellious gang.
But there were other goings on before the murder.
Before the killing, there were some local cats in the area (mostly strays) being tortured and killed. One cat was seen by a local with their tail hacked off. Other cats were dismembered. It may link to the depravity of the killings.
A strange car was seen on Christmas Day parked outside the family house.
Another man was spotted outside the Miyazawa family home wearing a skater-type outfit - this was just a day before the murders. And it may very well be linked to a man matching the same rough description. This man who purchased a sashimi knife from the local shopping area fit this description.
It was the only one purchased on that day.
The killer was brazen, leaving behind a shoeprint, a fanny pack, a bucket hat and enough evidence to profile the look of the killer. As you can see, he dressed like a teenager. The shoes were Slazenger and not sold in Japan.
The killer may no longer be in Japan and could be in any other country including Europe and the USA. The killings have now become something of an urban legend in Japan and speculation has been frantic and wild - but not nearly precise enough.
In December 2015, true crime author Fumiya Ichihashi published a book on the case and alleged that the suspect called themselves R and was a former member of the South Korean military. The theory goes into the aforementioned dirt left behind (traced to the USA in origin but may be linked to a Korean province where "R" lived) and the fingerprints matching the suspect. However, this is inconsistent sensationalism that could be used purely to sell books.
The Japanese Police had dedicated countless hours into this case, and still - we have no justice.
The extended family of the Miyazawa Family and Yasuko’s bereaved mother may never get closure on this horrific case.
And the killer’s arrogance and depravity will never face consequences.
The final ominous clue is the Jizo Statue not far from the scene.
This is a Buddhist deity that protects children in the afterlife. The statue was found a mile from the murders and left (possibly) as a sign of guilt and remorse.