On July 1, 2000, the disappearance of 21-year-old British woman, Lucie Blackman, in Tokyo sparked an intense international investigation. Lucie had been working as a hostess at the Casablanca nightclub in Tokyo, where part of her job involved going on paid dates with customers. The subsequent police investigation and appeal trial led to the conviction of Joji Obara for her murder. Today, viewers of the Netflix documentary, “Missing: The Case of Lucie Blackman,” are curious about Joji Obara’s current location and status.
The Elusive Whereabouts of Joji Obara
As of now, the exact location of Joji Obara remains unknown, but he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007. Initially charged with Lucie Blackman’s murder in 2000, he was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. However, a later appeal trial in 2008 found him guilty.
Joji Obara’s trial commenced on July 4, 2001, and by April 2007, he was found guilty on multiple rape charges and manslaughter. Although he was acquitted of raping and murdering Lucie, he was found guilty of the manslaughter of Australian model, Carita Ridgway, whom he had killed in 1992 by drugging her with chloroform.
Due to criticism regarding the handling of forensic evidence in the first trial, an appeal trial was held in March 2008 at the Tokyo High Court. In December of the same year, the court found Joji Obara guilty of abducting, dismembering, and disposing of Lucie Blackman’s body. An appeal to the Supreme Court of Japan in December 2010 was rejected, affirming his life sentence.
Unmasking Joji Obara – The Serial Rapist and Murderer
Joji Obara, born in Osaka, Japan, in 1952, was a serial rapist and murderer with an estimated 400 victims. Hailing from a wealthy family, he attended private school and graduated from university. Initially involved in real estate investment, Obara owned assets valued at around $38 million. However, the economic recession of the 1990s caused him to lose his fortune, leading to allegations of his business being used as a front for money laundering activities.
The Heinous Crimes of Joji Obara
Joji Obara’s criminal acts included the rape and murder of several women. Among his victims were Lucie Blackman and Australian model Carita Ridgway, both of whom he brutally killed. The evidence presented during his trial included approximately 400 self-shot videos showing him engaged in date rape.
Lucie, a former flight attendant for British Airways, had decided to spend a year in Tokyo with a friend. While working as a hostess at Casablanca, she went on a paid date with a customer on July 1, 2000. Tragically, she failed to return her friend’s calls after the date, prompting her family to launch a highly publicized campaign to find her.
In February 2001, Lucie’s body was discovered in a seaside cave in Miura, Kanagawa, located about 50km outside Tokyo and just a few hundred meters from one of Joji Obara’s properties.
Obara has consistently maintained his innocence, claiming that the drugs Lucie had consumed were voluntarily self-administered.
The Capture and Justice for Joji Obara
The intense media coverage of the Lucie Blackman case led three women to come forward, describing waking up sore and sick in Joji Obara’s bed, with no memory of the previous night. Some of them had previously reported him to local police, but their concerns were ignored.
During the investigation, the police established links between cases involving a man using the alias “Nishita” and Joji Obara.
He was charged in October 2000 with the crimes against Lucie and Carita Ridgway, as well as with raping eight other women.
After the appeal trial’s verdict, Lucie Blackman’s mother expressed relief, stating, “This has been a harrowing ordeal, not just for today, but for over eight years. But at last, we have two guilty verdicts and a life sentence. Today, truth and honor have prevailed, not only for Lucie but for all victims of violent sexual crime.”
Lucie’s father, Tim, who had tirelessly fought for justice and lodged the appeal against the initial trial, remarked to the Times, “It is fantastic, and completely unexpected, and no less than Lucie deserves. It sounds churlish to say it’s a pity that this didn’t happen years ago, because it’s been such a long haul, such a merciless torture. But for the police and prosecutors to get him like this is a great achievement.”
Joji Obara’s horrific crimes against innocent women, including the tragic case of Lucie Blackman, have resulted in his life imprisonment. While his current whereabouts remain unknown, the victims’ families find solace in the fact that justice has been served. The Netflix documentary, “Missing: The Case of Lucie Blackman,” brings renewed attention to this chilling true crime story, reminding viewers of the importance of vigilance against such heinous acts.