710 KNUS News

6/17/2014 12:00 PM
Mummified-bodies case stays on Idaho man's record

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — A southeastern Idaho man who lived with the partially mummified bodies of his wife and adult daughter for years can't have his involuntary manslaughter convictions cleared from his record until 2018.

The Post Register reports (http://www.postregister.com/node/56993) that a judge on Monday ruled 74-year-old Kenichi David Kaneko's request for a withheld judgment can only be considered five years after a defendant has completed probation.

Kaneko allowed his wife and daughter, both of whom were mentally ill, to die from starvation and sickness, authorities said.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in 2007, and Kaneko was sentenced to four to 10 years in prison with a six-month mental health rider program.

Kaneko completed the six-month program and was released on probation, which ended in 2013. That makes the earliest a withheld judgment can be requested is 2018.

Kaneko "will probably be dead by then," said Doug Sakota, the brother of Kaneko's deceased wife. He told the newspaper that Kaneko is dying of cancer.

In the recent motion requesting withheld judgment, Kaneko said he's in poor health and wanted to clear his name.

But 5th District Judge Gregory Moeller ruled that under Idaho Code, the court didn't have authority at this time to grant Kaneko a withheld judgment because of the five-year time requirement.

In 2004, relatives told authorities they were worried about Kaneko's wife and daughter because they hadn't been seen for years. Authorities conducting a welfare check on June 19, 2004, found the decomposed bodies of Laura Kaneko, 33, and Lorraine Kiyoe Kaneko, 58, side by side on a bed surrounded by hundreds of air fresheners and fans in Kaneko's mobile home near Rexburg.

Investigators determined that Laura Kaneko died in May or June 2001, and that Lorraine Kaneko died Feb. 9, 2003.

According to court records, the women died after following a plan they believed was a divine revelation requiring a restricted diet and complete isolation. Kaneko said the women told him they had received a revelation that Laura Kaneko was to marry an apostle and had to go through a cleansing ritual.

Journals found at the home show that as early as 1990, Laura Kaneko made entries that she had received a revelation from God that she was supposed to marry a young man who was then away on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to court records.

The women died from a combination of starvation and sickness, autopsy reports said. Kenichi Kaneko allowed the deaths to occur, authorities said.

Authorities found trash — including spoiled food, used toilet paper and bags of candy labeled with the day it was eaten — piled everywhere in the small home.

A mental health expert testified at a hearing in 2007 that the women suffered from a chronic mental illness that made it difficult for them to judge reality and take care of themselves.

Kaneko testified during the hearing that interfering with their plan would have shown a lack of faith. He said that though he found both women after they died, he didn't call police because he thought it was still part of the plan.

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Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com



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(Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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