If you’ve seen Netflix’s new true-crime documentary Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case, you may wonder what happened to Joji Obara and where he is now.
The man convicted of dismembering and disposing of the 21-year-old British hostess’s body is at the heart of the documentary, which tells the story of how her father and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police worked to find out what happened to her after she vanished from Tokyo on July 1, 2000.
Who Is Joji Obara?
Obara was born Kim Sung Jong in 1952 to Korean parents in Osaka, Japan, according to Australian newspaper The Age. His parents amassed a large fortune in pachinko rooms — picture a room full of electronic slot machines for gambling — and Obara and his two brothers inherited that fortune when their father died when Obara was a teenager.
Obara attended Keio University in Tokyo. There, he changed his name to Seisho Hoshiyama, and then again to Joji Obara when he was 21, The Age adds. Obara became a real-estate speculator and was a frequent patron of the hostess bars in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo where Lucie Blackman was working in 2000.
What Happened to Lucie Blackman?
When she first went missing, at first, the police struggled to find a lead. But then, stories began to come out about a mysterious, wealthy man who had been taking young hostesses to the seaside and then drugging and raping them while they were unconscious, leaving them disoriented and in pain the next day.
This man was ultimately identified by police as Joji Obara with the help of other victims, who described his many sports cars, his seaside condo, and identified his mugshot in a lineup.
He was arrested, and after searching his apartment, police found at least 400 videotapes showing him raping unconscious women. They also found a notebook in which he had written that he would “dedicate” himself to “becoming evil,” according to the Netflix documentary
His other victims include 21-year-old Carita Ridgway, who died of complications from overexposure to Chloroform after Obara left her at a hospital claiming she had food poisoning.
From evidence they found in Obara’s apartment including several sales receipts, police put together a timeline of Blackman’s last days. They believe Obara killed Blackman on July 1 at his condo in the seaside town of Zushi and then transported her body to his other condo in the seaside community of Aburatsubo. However, Obara was never convicted of Blackman’s murder — he was instead given a life sentence for dismembering and disposing of her body in 2008.
Police also found receipts for a chainsaw, cement, and a portable tent.
Assistant Inspector Yuji Nozoe of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police found Blackman’s body on Feb 9, 2001, 223 days after she went missing, in a small cave on the beach in Aburatsubo.
Where Is Joji Obara Now?
Joji Obara was charged with abduction, rape resulting in death, the disposal of Lucie Blackman’s body, and rape resulting in the death of Carita Ridgway.
To the shock of police and Blackman’s family, he was convicted of his crimes against Ridgway and 8 others, receiving a life sentence — but found not guilty of the charges related to Blackman.
The family appealed, and after a retrial on Dec. 16, 2008, Obara was ultimately convicted of dismembering and abandoning Blackman’s body.
He is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Insider. He is 70 years old.
Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case is now streaming on Netflix.
Main Image: Joji Obara pictured in Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case on Netflix