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Two schoolgirls who disappeared after saying they were off to visit an abandoned and 'haunted' hotel in Japan created a 25-year mystery that resulted in the discovery of their bodies in a car underneath the sea.
The story begins back in 1996 when Megumi Yashiki and Narumi Takumi - who were both 19 at the time - disappeared off the face of the earth.
They told their families that they were headed for Uozu City in Yashiki's car, to visit an onsen hot springs hotel that was deserted and - as locals claimed - a 'haunted spot'.
The hotel had shut down in the 1980s due to financial problems, but quickly became a hangout for some less than friendly folks.
The last contact anyone had with the pair was when Takumi sent a pager message that read simply: "We are in Uozu."
They were reported missing two days later, and never seen again until their skeletal remains were pulled from Fushiki Port - some 13 kilometres from their home in Himi City - 25 years later.
For years, the police had no idea what had happened, but then three witnesses came forward in late 2014, and one said: "A car with two women dropped from a parking lot into the sea near Kaiomaru Park at midnight of a major holiday [Golden Week] in 1996."
One of the witnesses said that they'd approached the car, but it 'suddenly started moving backwards and fell [into the water]'.
Asked why it had taken them so long to come forward, they said they were 'scared'.
Whilst the internet has thrown up all sorts of rumours, including involvement from bosozuku - youth motorcycle gangs - involvement, and abduction by North Korean agents, the real and sad truth seems to be that the police failed to act quickly on the testimony of the witnesses, waiting six years before the bodies were found.
According to Shukan Josei, the Toyama Prefectural Police said: "The alleged witnesses were interviewed multiple times.
"We know that the car fell into the sea for some reason, but at this time foul play is not suspected."
This is little comfort to their families, of which Yashiki's father is reported as having said: "I don't trust [the witnesses] at all.
"I don't know who they are. I have asked the police but they won't tell me."
Whilst he wants the investigation to continue the search for answers, he admitted: "Even so, the police cannot do anything without evidence."
The police added: "We will investigate as needed in the future."
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