Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Cannibal Celebrity: Issei Sagawa

The Honeymoon is Over

By this time, several large flies swarmed around the corpse, so Sagawa took that as a sign that he'd lost Renee. The "honeymoon" was over.

He then used a hatchet to chop her into pieces that would fit into the suitcases he'd bought specifically for this purpose. Yet even as he dismembered her, he grew excited, so he used her hand to masturbate. Then he chewed on her nose and heard the noise of the cartilage crunching. Since he'd often thought about chewing on her lip, he removed it and set it aside. That part he would keep for later pleasures.

"I want her tongue," he said in his fictional account. "I can't open her lower jaw, but I can reach in between her teeth. Finally it comes out." He cut it off, popped it into his mouth and watched himself chewing it in the mirror. Then he went for the eyes.

The final step for Sagawa was to explore the internal organs, which stung his hands with digestive acid, and then used the hatchet to cut off her head. With so many parts removed, it looked like a skull. He grabbed the hair and hung the head in front of him, an experience that in retrospect caused him to say, "I realized I am a cannibal."

By the time he was finished bagging the pieces and locking them into a suitcase, it was midnight of the second day. He called a cab.

Arriving at the Bois de Boulogne, he lugged the suitcases into the park, intending to shove them into the pond. However, he had a difficult time with his heavy burden. When he spotted some people watching him, he got scared and just left the suitcases. Martingale reports in Cannibal Killers that a couple went closer and saw a female hand protruding from one of the bloodstained cases, so they called the police. Police opened the suitcases, found the remains, and began the task of tracing the bags back to the purchaser.

In the meantime, Sagawa returned to his apartment to enjoy the pieces of Renee Hartevelt that he'd put into the refrigerator. As he ate another gruesome meal, he thumbed through some pornography. Each day of his remaining freedom, he ate another piece, claiming in his later renditions that it became sweeter with time.


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