Parents of Murdered Japanese Tourist Ask for Public's Help in Locating Body

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Parents aren't meant to bury their children. But the mother and father of murdered Japanese tourist Masumi Watanabe are waiting for the opportunity to give her a proper burial.

With heavy hearts, Hideichi and Fumiko Watanabe of Japan are speaking publicly about their daughter's violent death for the first time.

"We're sure that Masumi is somewhere in, on Oahu," Hideichi Watanabe said through an interpreter.

Twenty-one-year-old Masumi, the youngest of their three children, went for a walk in Pupukea April 12th and never returned.

Investigators believe she was killed, based on blood evidence. Despite numerous air and ground searches, her body hasn't been found.

"We really wanted to have Masumi back as soon as possible," the victim's father said. "You know, we really look for that information, and we'd like to have her body back to Japan."

Twenty-two-year-old Kirk Lankford, a former pest control worker, is charged with Watanabe's murder. He's set to go to trial in February.

The victim's parents have no comment about the defendant.

They do say, overall, they still believe Hawaii is a safe place and they're grateful for the search efforts.

"We really appreciate the, everybody is helping us to find Masumi," Hideichi Watanabe said.

For now, they say just being here helps them feel closer to their little girl.

The Watanabes say they plan to return to Hawaii for Lankford's trial.