British Columbia

Man testifies against brother accused of murdering Japanese student in 2016

Warren Schneider testified that his brother, William Schneider, revealed details of the case before a suicide attempt in the weeks after Natsumi Kogawa went missing in 2016.

Warren Schneider testified that his brother revealed details of case before suicide attempt

Warren Schneider is seen outside B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, where he's testifying against this brother. William Schneider is accused of killing a Japanese student in 2016 and hiding her body in a suitcase. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The brother of the man on trial for charges of second degree murder and interfering with human remains testified on Thursday in a Vancouver courtroom.

William Schneider, 51, is accused of killing Japanese student, Natsumi Kogawa, 30, in 2016. Her remains were found in a suitcase in Vancouver's West End about three weeks after she went missing.

Warren Schneider told the court that his family became suspicious that his brother was involved in the case when they saw an image circulating in news reports that appeared to show him with the victim.

He said he phoned his brother to tell him about the photo, but William Schneider didn't say anything.

"His response was that was the end of the conversation ... click," Warren Schneider testified.

He told the court he "assumed the worst" and immediately drove from Rutland to Vernon to speak to his brother in person.

On a short walk to and from a beer store, Warren Schneider said his brother opened up about the case, bringing it up himself.

"I didn't pry," said Schneider, adding that his brother talked about three dates with the missing student. "He shared some details."

The 12-person jury heard that William Schneider borrowed money from his father and bought $50 worth of heroin.

"I knew Willy was going to commit suicide, so he took heroin to go kill himself out in the bush," said Warren Schneider.

"I told our father that it may be the last time he saw Willy, so give him a hug."

Burnaby RCMP released these photos of Natsumi Kogawa in Sept., 2016, during the search for the missing Japanese student. (Burnaby RCMP)

Schneider testified that his brother gave him his passport and told him where to tell police to find Kogawa's body after he died.

But William Schneider "got ripped off," according to his brother, and the drugs weren't strong enough to kill him.

Warren Schneider said he secretly called 911 to report the overdose.

He then took the information about the location of Kogawa's remains to Vernon RCMP.

Soon afterwards, police in Vancouver found her body in a suitcase outside the historic Gabriola mansion in Vancouver.

Warren Schneider's testimony is scheduled to continue on Friday when his brother's lawyer will get a chance to cross-examine him.

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