The body of British teacher Alice Hodgkinson has been found in Japan eight days after she went missing, her devastated family said today.
Tearful father Steve Hodgkinson told how he had received ‘the worst news imaginable’ from police about 28-year-old daughter Alice, and said the family are ‘at a complete loss’ over her death.
Concerns had been raised last week when Alice, from Nottingham, failed to turn up for work at the English language school where she taught in Yokohama, near Tokyo.
Police subsequently broke into her apartment and found a note addressed to her dad and brother, though they have not disclosed its contents.
Her body has since been found, though it is not clear where her remains were found, exactly when they were discovered, or in what circumstances. However, officers say they are not looking for anybody in connection with her death.
The body of Alice Hodgkinson, 28, from Nottingham has been found after she disappeared in Japan last week
It comes after worried friends in Japan, where the Edinburgh University graduate had been living for more than a year, launched a poster campaign in a bid to find her.
Her family in the UK faced an agonising wait for news and desperately clung onto a glimmer of hope she could still be alive although her dad admitted earlier in the week: ‘We fear the worse.’
Retired computer software engineer Steve, 68, said at his Nottingham home he shares with son Peter, 32: ‘We were notified last night. Police told me that had found Alice’s body. It was the worst news imaginable.
‘We are devastated and it is a very difficult time for our family.’
Steve – divorced from Alice’s mum NHS worker Julie, 63, who also lives in Nottingham – added: ‘We are at a complete loss and her mother is struggling, she’s beside herself with grief.’
The family want to repatriate her body as soon as possible.
He said he wasn’t yet sure if he and his son would be travelling to Japan, saying: ‘We’ve not decided what best to do. If we go out there we’ll need to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. But we need to bring Alice home.’
He added: ‘Close family are aware. It is not a murder investigation and police are not looking for anyone else in connection with her death.’
It is understood officers who broke into Alice’s apartment on July 01 after she was reported missing found a note addressed to her dad and brother.
Steve was too upset to say where his daughter’s body was found or how she had died.
He told how the family had been ‘anxiously waiting by the phone’ when she disappeared after last being seen on June 29.
He had received an email from her the following day on June 30 – her last one.
Steve recalled how touched he was to receive a special gift from his daughter.
He said: ‘I’d got a Father’s Day present from her, a membership to Sheffield University Theatre, and I responded with an email thanking her.
‘She then sent an email in reply, that was our last communication and everything seemed absolutely fine.
Her father Steve, who last spoke to her on June 30 via Skype, said they had received ‘the worst news imaginable’ by police, adding that the family were ‘at a complete loss’
‘As far as we know she wasn’t depressed, she seemed to be leading a happy, fulfilling life.’
Mr Hodgkinson, who last saw Alice in 2019 before she went to live abroad, said they had a ‘good relationship.’
Before her body was found he said: ‘We are very very anxious. You hear of awful things happening all the time and my daughter wouldn’t just disappear.
‘She has not been in contact with anybody. It is totally out of character and I’m afraid we fear the worse.’
In a heartfelt plea to his daughter, he said: ‘Alice, please, please make contact. So many people are concerned about you.
‘You are very much loved. Please get in touch.’
He told how Interpol had joined forces with Nottinghamshire and Japanese police in the search for Alice as her frantic friends in the country where she has lived since March last year have launched a poster campaign in a bid to help find her.
He described his single daughter as ‘a bright young lady and quite outgoing in sharing her views on veganism, animal welfare and human rights, adding: ‘She was a bit of a loner at times, not the partying type and not looking for a relationship.’
He told how Alice was reported missing after failing to turn up for work last week.
He explained: ‘She hadn’t been in work for a few days and her bosses were getting concerned for her wellbeing. They got the police involved and launched an investigation.
‘We’ve desperatley being tying to call her but her phone’s not doing anything. It’s either switched off or the battery is dead. She wouldn’t normally be out of contact for so long.
‘Something’s wrong. It’s very worrying. We would noramlly speak face to face on Skype every four weeks and exchange the odd email in between.’
He told how Alice, who graduated from Edinburgh University with a Masters degree in Psychology, didn’t speak any Japanese but ‘relied on Google Translate.’
Alice shared an apartment block in Yokohama – 20 miles south of Tokyo – with different nationality tenants and intended to stay in the country for another year.
Police in Japan say they have raided Alice’s apartment and found a note inside addressed to her dad and brother, but have not disclosed its contents