British Columbia

Crown says accused confessed to killing Japanese student

Suspect William Victor Schneider, 51, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second degree murder and interfering with human remains in connection with the death of Natsumi Kogawa, 30.

2nd day of murder trial hears more details around discovery of Natsumi Kogawa's body in September 2016

Vancouver police say the body of Natsumi Kogawa, 30, was found outside the Gabriola Mansion on Davie Street. (Vancouver Police Department)

Countless people walked past the body of a Japanese student hidden metres from a busy Vancouver street for several days before investigators found the remains, according to testimony from a a forensic investigator.

Vancouver police Const. Beatrice Chow took the stand on the second day of the murder trial for the man charged in relation to Natsumi Kogawa's 2016 death.

William Victor Schneider, 51, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second degree murder and interfering with human remains.

Kogawa, 30, had been missing for more than two weeks when her body was found in a suitcase outside the historic Gabriola mansion in Vancouver's West End on Sept. 28, 2016.

A sign posted near the Holdom SkyTrain Station in Burnaby about Natsumi Kogawa, a missing 30-year-old from Japan. (CBC)

In B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday, Chow went through hundreds of photos she took as she helped document the crime scene where Kogawa's decomposed body was found.

A police dog found the black suitcase with a broken wheel at 6:53 p.m. PT.

Chow noted a dirt path near the suitcase was littered with a beer can, used condoms and discarded bottles of lubricant. There was also a pair of black boots and zap-strap ties scattered near the luggage, which had been hidden in an indent against a bush.

Kogawa's decomposed body was found inside the suitcase.

Crown claims confession

In his opening statement on Monday, Crown prosecutor Geordie Proulx said he will be presenting evidence that Schneider phoned his wife in Japan and said, "I killed her."

Proulx also said Schneider also confessed to his brother that he hid a woman's body on a Vancouver construction site before Kogawa's body was found.

Schneider — who has been living at the Catholic Charities Men's hostel in 2016 — told staff there that he'd met a Japanese woman he was excited to go hiking and camping with, the Crown said.

Kogawa went missing on Sept. 8, 2016. She'd been studying English in Vancouver on a student visa.

Police tracked her movements and found surveillance video of Kogawa with a man, later identified as Schneider, walking through Vancouver's Harbour Centre Mall.

A still photo from the footage was released to the media on Sept. 27. Proulx said Schneider's brother, Warren, recognized him on the tape and phoned police. 

Warren Schneider is set to testify later this week.

The trial is scheduled to continue into October.

Read more from CBC British Columbia