The Canadian suspect currently on trial in connection with the death of a Japanese student in Vancouver two years ago entered a not-guilty plea during his hearing on Monday.
William Victor Schneider, who was arrested on Sept. 28, 2016, in Vernon, B.C., is facing charges of second-degree murder and indignity to a human body in the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, CBC reports.
The victim, 30-year-old Natsumi Kogawa, was studying English in Vancouver on a student visa when she disappeared on September 12, 2016.
According to Prosecutor Geordie Proulx, Kogawa had planned to meet a friend to talk about a potential job at a restaurant, but she never showed up. She was reported missing soon after, sparking a high-profile campaign to find her.
Kogawa had been missing for two weeks when a police dog found her body inside a suitcase outside Gabriola Mansion in Vancouver’s West End on the day of the 51-year-old suspect’s arrest.
During the investigation, authorities found surveillance video of Kogawa with a man walking through Vancouver’s Harbour Centre Mall.
When the police released an image from the footage to the media on Sept. 27, Schneider’s brother reportedly recognized him and immediately informed the authorities.
Schneider, who had been staying at a local hostel at the time of his arrest, had reportedly spoken to hostel staff about meeting a Japanese woman before leaving on Sept. 21, 2016, Proulx revealed.
It was Schneider who eventually told police where to find the suitcase containing Kogawa’s remains.
While forensic experts were unable to determine the exact cause of Kogawa’s death due to the body’s state of decomposition, an undetermined quantity of sedative drugs zopiclone and lorazepam were found on the victim’s liver.
Proulx noted that Kogawa didn’t have a prescription for either drug but Schneider had past prescriptions for lorazepam. The trial is set to commence next month.