In 2006, Japanese police officers uncovered a disturbing scene straight out of a terrifying film. The house of horrors seemed to be the work of Japanese killer Chizuko Okamoto.
Okamoto, a single mother, was linked to a series of disturbing deaths that spanned decades. Her gruesome handiwork was uncovered when the biological mother of Minehiro Yamauchi, Okamoto's 35-year-old stepson, found the bodies of Yamauchi and Okamoto's 19-year-old daughter in an apartment. Yamauchi was hanging from the apartment ceiling, and Rikako Okamoto was lying on a futon. Upon further investigation, police found the bodies of Toshihide, Okamoto's six-year-old son, and two of her newborn babies who had disappeared years prior.
Okamoto was never charged for the entire scope of her presumed crimes. The blood-curdling events surrounding the death of her children seem too horrific to be true, but they are. This is the terrifying story of the Japanese mother who killed her kids – then kept the bodies.
A Mother Made A Horrific Discovery
In May 2006, the mother of Minehiro Yamauchi, Okamoto's stepson, went looking for him. The woman found her 35-year old son hanging from the rafters in a Hiratsuka flat. The body of 19-year-old Rikako Okamoto, Yamauchi's half-sister, was on a nearby futon. Yamauchi's mother called the police, and they began investigating the apartment.
Chizuko Okamoto Admitted To Strangling Her Daughter
Soon after the grisly discovery, 54-year-old Chizuko Okamoto was arrested in connection with the death of her teenage daughter, Rikako Okamoto. She admitted to strangling the girl on October 12, 2004 – seven months before her body was found. Okamoto reportedly said, "I tried to kill myself after killing my daughter."
Rikako Okamoto Seemed To Suspect Her Mother Was Trying To Harm Her
Shortly before her death, Rikako Okamoto complained about her mother on her blog. She wrote, "Everything seems to be going wrong this year, and I'm fed up." In other posts, Rikako mentioned that her mother was "acting strangely."
The Plastic-Wrapped Bodies Of Three Children Were Found
Once the police began investigating Chizuko Okamoto's apartment, they made a gruesome discovery. The bodies of three children were found wrapped in black plastic bags, placed inside two cardboard boxes that were taped closed. The authorities assumed one was the body of Toshihide Okamoto, Okamoto's son, who disappeared at age six in 1984. The other two bodies were those of unknown newborns.
The Air Conditioner Was Left On A Moisture Removal Setting, Perhaps To Slow Decay
One of the creepiest details the police noticed in the one-room apartment was the air conditioner. It had been left on moisture removal setting. Was this to slow the decomposition of the corpses left there?
One Body Was That Of Chizuko Okamoto's Missing Son
Chizuko Okamoto's son Toshihide disappeared in 1984 at the age of six. Okamoto reportedly told neighbors that the child had been kidnapped by North Korean agents, and that the authorities had refused to help her find him.
One of the bodies the police uncovered at the apartment appeared to be that of Toshihide. It's likely his badly decomposed body was sitting in a box for two decades. Okamoto was never charged for his murder because the statute of limitations had run out.