Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Missing Japanese Tourist: Items With Human Remains Identified

Police confirm "without a doubt" that the items found Monday alongside human remains belonged to the 45-year-old Japanese doctor who disappeared last October

RCMP have confirmed that personal items found with human remains in a forest outside of Yellowknife on Monday belonged Atsumi Yoshikubo, a Japanese Tourist who went missing last October.

“Sufficient evidence exists for police to determine without a doubt that the items belonged to Atsumi Yoshikubo,” said RCMP, in a press release sent out Wednesday afternoon. The police refrained, however, from directly saying that the remains were Yoshikubo herself: “Forensic testing is still required on the remains which were located. This scientific testing can take months, or even in excess of a year depending on the type of analysis that is required.”

The disappearance of the 45-year-old doctor from Uto in southern Japan shook Yellowknife last October, when she was reported missing after she failed to check out from the Explorer Hotel and missed her flight home on Oct. 26. She was last seen trekking alone along Highway 4 past Jackfish Lake on Oct. 22.

The news triggered several days of intense search and rescue operations – with police and volunteers scouring the woods around Yellowknife and helicopters hovering above treetops and half-frozen lakes. After four days, the search on foot was called off and police began combing further north using aircraft equipped with infrared tracking devices.

In early November the RCMP called off the search entirely, announcing Yoshikubo had “arrived in Yellowknife with a plan to go into the wilderness alone and become a missing person … and investigation also revealed that Yoshikubo took steps to avoid being found.”

In today’s announcement, Insp. Matt Peggs, Detachment Commander, Yellowknife RCMP, acknowledged the public interest in the story and “the concern of the families who are hoping for answers in this discovery,” adding that “investigators are working expeditiously to bring comfort and closure to those concerned.”