Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

FALSE PROPHET: THE AUM CULT OF TERROR

Aftermath

When Sakamoto failed to arrive at his office the following week, his associates became worried. Anxious family members went to the apartment to check. The sight that greeted them caused confusion. The rooms showed clear signs of recent occupation with all the families personal items intact. The only things missing, apart from the Sakamotos, were items of bedding.

One curious item was found that seemed definitely out of place. On the floor beside a cupboard, Sakamotos mother found a badge inscribed with the insignia of Aum Supreme Truth. The police were called and made a rudimentary investigation, but seemed disinterested in the familys disappearance. When it was suggested that Aum was responsible, the police backed away from the suggestion, proposing that Sakamoto, who they saw as a trouble maker, had organized the whole thing to discredit Aum.

Shoko Asahara
Shoko Asahara
News of the event reached the media and soon Aums name was being linked to the disappearance. The public pressure made it difficult for the police to continue to ignore the connection. Finally, 16 days after the disappearance, the police reluctantly approached Aum and requested an interview with Asahara. Asahara avoided the police for several days before leaving the country to travel to Germany, supposedly to oversee the European expansion of Aum.

While Asahara and entourage toured Germany on a recruiting drive, the media interest in the Sakamoto case was increasing. The Sunday Mainichi, because of its previous exposure to Aums lunacy, believed them responsible and sent a reporter to Bonn to interview Asahara. He was refused entry to the Aum residence and dragged away by Asahara's men.

Soon after, a press conference was called by Asahara to deny any involvement in the alleged Sakamoto kidnapping. When one reporter raised the question of the badge found at the scene, Asahara answered that anyone could get one because over 40,000 had been distributed, when in fact less than a hundred had been made. The police lost interest in the case and, eventually, the media did as well.  Seemingly, Aum had gotten away with murder, again.

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