Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods


Cult Of Death

On November 3rd, 1989, a small group of men left the Aum compound to drive to Yokohama. Among them was Hideo Murai, the chief scientist, Satoro Hashimoto, a martial arts expert, and Dr. Nakagawa, who carried a pouch containing seven syringes filled with potassium chloride.

The plan was to wait outside of Yokohama railway station for Sakamoto to return from work, drag him into their car, inject him,  drive the body back to the compound and burn the remains. The plan proceeded on schedule. However Sakamoto was late getting home. The men waited for several hours until finally they realized that it was a public holiday and Sakamoto would be home with his family. Asahara was contacted and he directed them to wait until the early hours of the following morning, go to Sakamotos apartment and kill the entire family.

At three a.m. the following morning, the group entered the apartment by an unlocked rear door and made their way to the master bedroom. As they entered the room, the baby awoke and began screaming. One of the men covered the boy's mouth with his hand and held him as Nakagawa injected the tiny body with a massive dose of the lethal drug. Sakamoto was next. Two men attacked him while he slept and battered him about the head with a hammer. The noise woke Satoko, who screamed and lashed out at her attackers, biting the hand of one of one of them until she too was bashed into submission and finally strangled. Both adults were then injected with the drug, but Tsutsumi Sakamoto, as he had done for most of his life, continued to fight. Finally, in desperation, two of the men strangled him until the life drained stubbornly from his body.

The family was then wrapped in its own bedding and transported back to the compound. Asahara was pleased with the results and directed the men to dispose of the bodies. The team obeyed, placing the corpses in metal drums, they loaded them onto a truck and drove out of the compound. They drove for several days looking for a suitable dumping ground until finally Tatsuhikos  body was hidden in wetlands near the Japanese Alps. Tsutsumi was buried in a forest several hours drive away from his son. Satoko was taken to another area and buried in a shallow grave near a mountain stream.

Prior to their disposal, all of the victims' teeth had been removed and smashed beyond identification. The bedding was burned and the tools dumped in the ocean. Their grisly task completed, the killers returned to their headquarters, where they were welcomed by Asahara who told them that they had done "holy work."

"Dont feel guilty," he told them. "The child will be born again in a higher world."

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