Man Arrested for Throwing His Brother’s Skull in the Trash, Claims He Thought It Was Fake

The 68-year-old suspect lived with his younger brother but claimed they hadn’t spoken since March 2017.
japan, crime, skull, human remains, trash, garbage, toy, abandoning, corpse
Assuming the skull found in his brother's room was a toy, the 68-year-old Japanese man put the remains out in the trash. Photo: FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP via Getty Image

A 68-year-old Japanese man was arrested after throwing out his brother’s skull, which he claims he didn’t know was real.

Shoichi Murai, a resident of Tokyo, was reportedly cleaning up his house last month to sell it when he found the bones in his brother’s room. Murai said he thought the bones were a model and threw them out. But the garbage company that collected his trash thought differently.

Murai claimed he hadn’t spoken to his younger brother since March 2017. They lived in the same house, with Murai taking the ground floor and his 67-year-old brother Hideo living on the second.


The trash company called the police after workers saw what looked like a human skull and jaw bone, as well as a bank card with the dead brother’s name on it. On Friday, investigators announced they arrested Murai for illegally disposing of human remains. They did not say what might have led to Hideo’s death.

Japanese police sometimes arrest people on charges of abandoning a corpse when investigating a death before adding charges of murder if that’s what they suspect.

On Sunday, a 54-year-old man in Japan’s southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture was arrested for leaving his wife’s body at home for a year and three months. Police learned of the incident only after he called them to report her corpse was still there. A few weeks earlier, a 23-year-old Tokyo resident was arrested for abandoning her newborn boy in a suitcase hidden in a closet.

Once police established that the human skull and jawbone belonged to Murai’s brother, they searched his home and found the rest of his sibling’s skeletonized body lying on a bed. An autopsy revealed no significant external injuries, and that it had been at least several months since his brother had died.

Police are still investigating the cause of Murai’s brother’s death. If found guilty of abandoning his sibling’s corpse, the 68-year-old faces a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment.

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