December 04-211, 2001
Cause of Tokyo woman's death undetermined
By ELIZABETH PIERCE, Bismarck Tribune
The Detroit Lakes police chief said the cause of a Japanese woman's death has still not been determined after her body was found near Detroit Lakes, Minn., on Nov. 15 -- six days after she was seen in Bismarck trying to find money buried by a character in the movie "Fargo."
After flying to Minneapolis, 28-year-old Takako Konishi of Tokyo, Japan, boarded a bus for Bismarck. Bismarck Police Lt. Nick Sevart said she stayed at the Holiday Inn in Bismarck on Nov. 9, and left behind clothing, saying it was trash.
The next day, a man found Konishi wandering around near the city landfill and Oasis truckstop in northeast Bismarck, Sevart said. Konishi didn't speak much English, so the man drove her to the Bismarck Police Department. While there, she showed officers a crude map of a tree next to a highway, drawn on white typing paper, that she apparently made in a quest to find the money buried by a "Fargo" character.
Sevart said police officers tried to explain to her that "Fargo" was only a movie, but faced a language barrier. The department has interpreters for several languages, he said, but not Japanese. Police called area ethnic restaurants looking for a Japanese interpretor, but they were unable to find one.
Since Konishi hadn't done anything illegal and her paperwork was apparently in order, Sevart said police had no reason to hold her. Sevart said Konishi told officers she wanted to go back out to the Oasis truck stop, but since she also wanted to go to Fargo, police suggested they drive her to the bus station instead. She apparently took a bus to Fargo, and then a taxi to Detroit Lakes.
"She apparently had money, so she wasn't in need of a place to stay or anything," Sevart said. Bismarck police didn't write a report because they had no reason to believe anything was amiss, Sevart said.
Her body was discovered by a bowhunter on Nov. 15, three days after she was last seen alive and a little more than a week after she arrived in the United States. Her body showed no signs of foul play.
Detroit Lakes police chief Kelvin Keena said he won't know the cause of Konishi's death until he gets the final versions of the autopsy results and toxicology reports.
Keena said he doesn't know why Konishi came to Bismarck before doubling back to Fargo.
He said Konishi's family traveled to St. Paul, Minn., last week to identify the body. Keena said Konishi was cremated and her remains returned to Japan with her family.