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The Lucie Blackman Case” shines light on sensational crime | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

A scene from “Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case.” (Photo courtesy Netflix)

“Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case,” Netflix’s latest true-crime case, streaming Wednesday, brings to light an international missing person case that remains sadly relevant.

On July 1, 2000, British flight attendant turned Tokyo nightclub hostess Lucie Blackman, 21, goes missing.  When her father and look-alike younger sister arrive in Japan to press the police in finding Blackman, the attractive, obviously beloved blonde quickly becomes an international media sensation.

The spur to reviving this decades-old case was a book written by Shoji Takao.  For the documentary Hyoe Yamamoto, who went to high school in Massachusetts, knew there were many cultural complexities to consider.  In both Tokyo and London Lucie Blackman almost instantaneously became a tabloid headliner. Once other victims were discovered and the police realized they were chasing a sexual predator, the coverage increased.

“For myself, the first if obvious challenge was whether we’re going to be able to get any access to the relatives or the victims,” Yamamoto, began in a Zoom interview. “Although we thought that we had a chance of putting it together anyways — because we’re telling the story from the perspective of detectives, which we knew that we had access. So that was a starting point.

“But it wasn’t just a matter of integrity and credibility in the documentary whether we can get access to the victims or the immediate families. In the end, we did so. Still, that was a bit of a challenge.”

Most helpful from the first report of his missing daughter was Lucy’s father Tim Blackman.

“Doing a story like this, sometimes it was overwhelming,” the director observed. “While Tim Blackman agreed to do it, it was clearly a very difficult experience for him.  Lucie’s parents came with a specific intention to raise a lot of fuss in the media. That certainly helped to get a lot of media attention.

“And then it turned out that this case had a whole bunch of other victims.”

The detectives get lucky and focus on a suspect, a wealthy if mysterious Korean loner with a passion for luxury cars. His method was meticulously chronicled by his homemade videos which were seized when he was arrested.  He would make a date with a hostess from Tokyo’s Roppongi nightclub district.  When they’ve driven to his suburban apartment, he drugged them, sometimes with chloroform, and raped them (while filming). When they wake, he drives them back home.

“Why Lucie was murdered when all of these other women woke up and went on with their lives, still remains a mystery today,” Yamamoto said.  “Something clearly happened.”

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