Two years. I honestly thought they would never catch the guy. Hawker's family has been keeping the search alive with semi-frequent visits to Japan and interviews with her father, her wife, and her sister, Lisa.
This case was about to turn into just another sad story when it comes to foreign women making contact with less-than-reputable characters in Tokyo; Lucie Blackman's and Lindsay Hawker's experiences have already been the focus on media attacks on hostess bars, the subject of the book Tokyo Hostess by Clare Campbell, even alluded to in the BBC radio series A Tokyo Murder.
Ichihashi was on a two-week hunger strike before finally caving to a terayaki pork bento; I guess we all have our weaknesses. Who knows what he's thinking? The man escaped the Chiba police, supposedly spent the next few months in the city bouncing between his gay lovers' flats, made his way west, had cosmetic surgery done, and was attempting to head south when finally apprehended by police in Osaka. My apologies if I missed anything.
Bottom line: the man is in custody, and as of today, has been formally charged with the rape and murder of Lindsay Ann Hawker. He is already quoted as having bound and gagged the young English teacher to rape her on March 24th, 2007, but has yet to give further details on her murder the next day (putting her in the sand-filled bathtub is another story entirely).