A 26-year-old American tourist in Japan is being investigated in the murder of a woman he met on a dating app after her severed head was found in an apartment he was renting, according to numerous reports in Japanese and international media.
Yevgeniy Vasilievich Bayraktar, of New York, was taken into custody after the 27-year-old woman’s head was found in a suitcase in his rental apartment, The Washington Post reports.
Bayraktar was in Japan as a tourist, according to the newspaper. He is denying that he had anything to do with the unidentified victim’s death, according to The Post. However, Kyodo News alleges that police say the man admitted disposing of the woman’s severed body parts in different places throughout Japan.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Woman Told Friends She Was Going on a Date With an American, Reports Say
The young woman’s last contact with friends came when she told them she was “going to see an American for a date,” according to The Washington Post, which added that the woman said she had met a man named “Jay” on an app and also shared the news on Instagram on February 15, saying she was going to “meet Jay.”
The New York man was staying in a dwelling that tourists use as cheap lodging. According to BBC, “The woman is believed to have visited another apartment in the western Osaka prefecture with the suspect earlier in February.”
According to the Japan Times, “police believe the man has stayed at a number of condos and minpaku (private lodging facilities) since arriving in Japan and booked his stays online.”
The dating app was designed to link foreigners with Japanese women, according to Kyodo News.
2. Bayraktar Wanted to Marry a Japanese Woman, His Mother Told the Japanese Media
Authorities made a grisly and horrific discovery: A severed head allegedly inside the man’s luggage. According to the Tokyo Reporter, “a torso, two arms and two legs were found in mountainous areas of Osaka and Kyoto prefectures” the following day and the extremities “appeared to have been severed with a sharp knife” and lacked clothing.
According to Kyodo News, the woman’s torse “was found on the ground and the arms covered with soil at the same location in Shimamoto. Both legs were found in Yamashina.”
The head was allegedly found inside the man’s vacation rental in Japan, according to The New York Post. Asahi.com reports that the man was already in custody after the woman, a 27-year-old office worker, disappeared. Now he was “being questioned in connection with a severed human head found inside a suitcase left in an apartment in Osaka,” the site reported.
Bayraktar’s mother spoke to Nippon News Network and said that her son’s “son’s dream was to marry a Japanese woman.” According to Tokyo Reporter, the mother added, “…he has a fondness for Japan, he said he wants to live there. Our son is not the type of person who would do a terrible thing.” You can see video of the Nippon News Network report here.
A neighbor told The New York Daily News that Bayraktar “his mother and her husband moved to the neighborhood about a decade ago” in New York. “His stepfather works for a Long Island power company.”
3. The Woman & a Man Were Captured on Surveillance Video
The evidence in the case includes surveillance video. According to Asahi, the security camera footage “showed the woman and a man who is believed to be Bayraktar meeting at a location near JR Morinomiya Station in Osaka around midnight that day and entering the apartment building in Higashinari Ward together.”
After that point, the man is seen leaving the building on his own on several occasions and, at times, he was seen carrying a large bag, the site reported. “It became impossible to locate the woman as the battery on her mobile phone went dead afterward,” reported Asahi.com.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that Bayraktar was in the country for sightseeing. “Through apps, he made contact with several women including the missing Sanda woman. He has visited Japan several times,” reported the Japanese newspaper.
Bayraktar’s former stepfather Benny Dacy told The New York Daily News that he married Bayraktar’s mother Regina Mishura “about 15 years ago after meeting her in the Ukraine through a mail-order bride service.” He said that “Bayraktar’s father was a Bulgarian doctor who lived in Ukraine,” according to Daily News.
4. The Woman’s Mother Contacted Police When She Didn’t Show Up for Work
The young woman’s family and co-workers grew concerned when she didn’t show up for work. According to The Tokyo Reporter, “the woman is employed at a company in Osaka. On February 17, her mother consulted with police after a person at the company said that she failed to arrive at work.”
She was last seen leaving work on February 15, the news site reported. The site and others reported that the American had denied any knowledge of what happened to the woman, whose name was not released.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, authorities allege that Bayraktar told them, “I abandoned the dead body of a woman who was with me.”
5. The Suspect Was Accused of Locking the Woman Up
Before the discovery of the head, the suspect was being questioned on accusations he may have locked the woman in an apartment.
Authorities received “a tip about Bayraktar confining the woman in the apartment. He was arrested on February 22 on suspicion of locking up the victim,” reported UK Daily Mail.
Air freshener was sprayed throughout the condo where the man was staying.