The Vaguest Of City Disappearances: The Unsolved Homicide Of Kayo Matsuzawa, NZ

11th September 1998, Auckland NZ. 29 year old Kayo Matsuzawa flew in from Christ Church. She booked into a backpacker friendly hotel and went out sightseeing. Those were the last known movements of the Japanese citizen who had been travelling and learning English in the country for a year.

Kayo Matsuzawa, 29. She was said to have been a bright, kind person, used to travelling and she came from a close family that missed her a great deal.

There is a report of a grainy CCTV  image showing Ms Matsuzawa in the city. That would be stamped at around 2pm.

11 days later her naked body was found in the Centrecourt Building at 131 Queen Street.  Though the victim may have been walking around the shops and sights of Auckland for several hours, where she was found was only a two minute walk from her hotel room.

Given that the city is a thriving and bustling place the knowledge of her movements is probably the vaguest of any case we have written about. CCTV coverage was not what it is today and cell phones were not owned by as many people. I listened to a review team cop say that they have no idea where she went after leaving the hotel.

Auckland, North Island, Australia

The curious thing was Ms Matsuzawa was found in a utility cupboard in the Centrecourt building. This was an area that was not accessible to the public in the normal course of any given day. It was locked though it could be opened by using a screw driver. This is mentioned because the utility worker who found her normally opened the door with one as finding the building manager was a pain in the neck. The victim was at first thought to have been a mannikin by the witness such was his shock at seeing her there.

As of the last report I read no cause of death is known either, though there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a case of murder. Unfortunately decomposition had done its work.

Cops did what they do and even travelled to Australia to check jewellery that was at first thought to have belonged to Ms Matsuzawa. That line of enquiry didn’t go anywhere. None of her clothing or jewellery has been recovered, however, her passport was found dumped in a bin not far from Centrecourt. She was known to wear crescent shaped earrings and a small gold ring with a pink stone. Her clothes that day are believed to have consisted of black bootleg style trousers ( wide bottom to the legs), a black jacket and black shoes.

A Few Thoughts Regarding The Unsolved Homicide Of Kayo Matsuzawa

I watched a video on the disappearance and sad death of 71 year old Bernard Gore. This gent walked into stairwell that was designed purely for emergency use. He became trapped into the isolated part of a shopping mall in Sydney. The doors could be opened from the public side, but once closed the door could not be reopened. He was found dead three weeks later as the world clattered by in ignorance. Did this lady walk into the restricted area only to come across some low life who worked there?

It seems so incredible that her body could have gone undiscovered for so long, but many buildings have seldom used areas as poor Mr Gore found out. Was she enticed somewhere else, killed and then taken to the cupboard? That sounds unlikely. The streets around the large Centrecourt building are busy and even in the quiet hours there is no guarantee that a cleaner, cop or custodian won’t be around.

Centrecourt Building, 131, Queens Sr, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

So it should have been easy to solve. The cops needed to identify a person with access, who was around at the time and maybe had a history of attacking women. Of course this is no criticism of them. Many people, employees, contractors and tenants could have known about the cupboard and how to access it. Many people have a less than savoury history. You could add to that growing list of suspect groups by including anyone who had worked there in the past.

Basically so little is known about this case that I would be delighted and surprised if it is ever solved. Out there is someone who knows, I am sure, and there is one other ray of hope. Ms Kayo Matsuzawa appears to have fought for her life. A DNA sample is held by the law just waiting for a match, it comes from skin found under her fingernails.

The only theory the police seem to have settled on is that Ms Matsuzawa may have had her drink spiked in a cafe or bar. They want to hear from anyone who knows of a low life using that method to rob and or sexually assault victims in that area at that time. It should be remembered that Auckland attracts visitors so it is possible that the offender was also passing through on an extended holiday.

Some other cases of unsolved homicides that feature victims who were on vacation are:

Cheryl Shackleton, UK

Anna Rosa Liva, Italian lady in Australia

Eila Karjalainen, Finnish lady killed in UK

You also might find our take on the notorious Flinders Highway murders interesting. The victims were mostly Australian who vanished or were found dead near this northern roadway.



If you do know something about this murder please check out the NZ police link below. They also have the Crimestoppers number there if you prefer.