A joint inquiry into the death of a Japanese woman and her son, whose bodies were discovered near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve on Nov. 14, 2019, has revealed that the former was suffering from depression and stress.
The State Coroner found on Oct. 19, 2020 that Nami Ogata, 41, unable to cope with work and caring for her son who had autism, killed her child at home and subsequently drove to the nature reserve and committed suicide.
Son first found in stationary car
The pair's bodies were found in a forested area along Lorong Sesuai early in the morning on Nov. 14, according to court documents seen by Mothership.
Ogata's five-year-old son, Sotaro, was first discovered unresponsive inside a stationary car. Auxiliary police officers patrolling the area thought he was sleeping, and contacted the police.
Police then found Ogata's body lying at the bottom of a nearby slope.
A kitchen knife was found next to her body and she had multiple lacerations to her neck and wrists, and stab wounds to her chest.
Both mother and son were pronounced dead at the scene.
Forensic investigations subsequently found that the wounds on Ogata's body were likely self-inflicted.
Meanwhile, the son had been strangled to death.
Was feeling anxious and depressed
Further investigations revealed that Ogata was suffering from major depressive disorder at the time.
She was stressed about work and having to care for her two sons.
Sotaro, had autism and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and was not doing well at school.
Ogata's husband was often busy with work and would return home late at around 10pm.
However, he revealed he was unsure why his wife had committed suicide — he said that he had a normal relationship with her and that she loved their children.
The last time husband and wife spoke was on Nov. 10, as he had been on a business trip prior to her death. He did not sense anything unusual during the conversation.
In the days leading up to her death, Ogata saw multiple doctors at various medical centres.
On Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, Ogata told doctors that her mood was very low, and that she had been feeling anxious for the past few months.
Additionally, she had insomnia, poor appetite, hair loss, low energy, had lost 8kg and also had palpitations for about a week.
However, she denied having any suicidal plans or intent, and told one doctor that she would not harm herself on account of her children.
Left suicide notes
Ogata and her son were last seen alive by their domestic helper on Nov. 13, at around 9pm.
At around 6:10am the next day, the helper awoke to find the pair missing from their condominium home at 23 Hume Ave.
As Ogata had sent a message saying she had taken Sotaro to the hospital, the helper did not suspect that anything was amiss.
The inquiry revealed that Ogata had likely used a long elastic band or raffia string to strangle Sotaro.
She then left her house with her son covered in a white blanket to avoid detection, and had brought along a kitchen knife as well.
Ogata then drove to a secluded area at Lorong Sesuai where she abandoned the car, leaving Sotaro inside, and proceeded to stab herself in the chest.
Two suicide notes she had penned prior to her death were addressed to her husband and her brother, who resides in Japan.
In the note for her husband, she stated that she was depressed and was going to take Sotaro with her.
She said that although she had seen doctors, the medication prescribed did not work and she still suffered from panic attacks and hyperventilation.
She apologised for her actions and repeatedly asked her husband to take good care of their other son. She also left specific instructions for his development, care and custody.
In the note to her brother, she pleaded with him to take his other son into custody and to raise him with his own children.
SOS 24-hour Hotline: 1800-221-4444
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (for primary school-aged children)
Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
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