Lindsay Ann Hawker's killer Still On The Run

Ryann Connell

Accused killer Tatsuya Ichihashi remains unaccounted for, weeks after the brutal murder of English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker, and attention has turned to his wealthy parents in the hope of picking up his trail again, according to Josei Jishin.

Freeloader Ichihashi lived in an apartment in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, that his parents owned and where Hawker's body was eventually found on March 26.

Though a graduate of a prestigious university, Ichihashi chose not to work, instead living off mommy and daddy -- posh physicians living in a palatial mansion (in the true sense of the word) in Gifu Prefecture.

"His parents were classmates at a private high school in Gifu. Both graduated and moved on to Nihon University, where his father studied to become a surgeon and mother a dentist," a reporter for a national daily tells Josei Jishin. "Until the killing, the father had been the head of an Aichi Prefecture hospital's surgical department. The mother was running the family dental clinic, but has since shut it down."

Neighbors spoke highly of the accused killer's parents.

"The father is a warm, gentle type, even though the mother is a bit snappy," one neighbor tells the women's weekly.

Ichihashi drastically changed his generous parents' lives, too, the moment he allegedly took Hawker's.

"He told us directly that it was impossible for him to work, so he has been placed on indefinite leave. Someone else has taken over his job," says a spokesman for the hospital where Ichihashi's father worked.

The women's weekly notes that the parents are now holed up in the Gifu palace with a tap on their phone that allows phone calls to be tracked, in hopes that their son will ring them.

Of course, they wouldn't need to be there were it not for the bumbling Chiba Prefectural Police, who allowed Ichihashi to literally slip out of their hands the night Hawker's body was discovered, according to Weekly Playboy.

A junior high schoolboy from Ichikawa tells a tale of incompetent crime-fighting that would be comical were the consequences not so tragic.

"This group of about five or six cops carrying flashlights came running up the road, shouting 'Stop, wait.' One of the cops came over to me. 'We're after a crook on the run. Give us that bike for a minute,' he said and snatched my bicycle away from me," the boy tells Weekly Playboy.

The boy says he was terrified, so stayed by a police officer's side. "But the officer flashed his light into a parking lot and then, all of a sudden, this shadow came flying out of the darkness. It was like a huge ape. The cop grabbed it and had pinned his arms, but the guy twisted him around and elbowed him. As the cop bent over, the man ran away," the boy says.

What they boy has to say so far has been pretty widely reported. But what he says next must be a condemnation of police handling of the case.

"While he was grappling with Ichihashi, the cop was screaming out at me, 'Call the cops! Call the cops!' What was I supposed to do? 'You are the cops,' I shouted back," the boy says. "The cop was pathetic. You couldn't rely on him for anything."

Chiba Prefectural Police still have 150 officers searching for Ichihashi, but he has vanished without a trace.

Many say he has taken his own life, but others believe he is out there, somewhere. Among those who hold out hope of finding the accused killer but who have given up hope of the police ever catching him are a group of Hawker's friends who have formed what the Japanese media is calling a "vigilante group."

"Most of the members are English people who used to hang out at the same cafe that Hawker-san went to," a friend of Hawker's tells Weekly Playboy. "They are looking for Ichihashi through the foreign resident community. They're trying much harder to find him than the Chiba Prefectural Police force are."

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