Yellowknife, NWT – RCMP say a Japanese tourist who went missing in Yellowknife is now presumed dead – and had a plan to disappear all along.
In a statement on Tuesday, RCMP said Atsumi Yoshikubo “arrived in Yellowknife with a plan to go into the wilderness alone and become a missing person”.
The statement added: “Investigations also revealed that Yoshikubo took steps to avoid being found.”
The search for the 45-year-old has now been concluded.
“Police will follow all leads in the hopes of eventually locating her remains,” Cst Elenore Sturko told Moose FM.
“The generosity of volunteers, and the concern shown by the people of Yellowknife for Atsumi Yoshikubo, was greatly appreciated and it certainly has left a mark on this investigation.”
Sturko told us she cannot yet elaborate on what evidence, exactly, suggested the missing tourist had planned to disappear and wanted to avoid detection.
Police waited until her family had been informed before making this morning’s announcement.
Yoshikubo is pictured above in security footage from Yellowknife’s Gallery of the Midnight Sun on October 19.
Her disappearance was reported by staff at the Explorer Hotel more than a week later, on October 27, when she failed to check out – leaving her bags in her room.
She had missed her booked flight home to Japan and had not been seen since a report, on October 22, that placed her along Highway 4 heading towards the Jackfish Lake area.
The search for Yoshikubo subsequently received extensive TV coverage in Japan – a major source of visitors to the Northwest Territories, with 30,000 trips registered in the past two years.
RCMP and other agencies led a search of the city and its surroundings using “all available resources” before concluding the tourist may have wandered north of Yellowknife, at which point police dogs were used along trails heading north, with support from aircraft using heat signature-tracking technology.