PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – Randy Redtail Wescogame, 20, of the Havasupai Indian Tribe, was sentenced today for the murder of Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese tourist who was killed on her 34th birthday after going for a hike to the Havasupai Falls in northern Arizona. U.S. District Court Judge Mary H. Murguia sentenced Wescogame to life in prison without the ability for parole.
Hanamure checked into a lodge on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and left for a hike to the Havasupai Falls on her birthday, May 8, 2006. She was reported missing on May 9th, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office initiated a search and rescue operation. Her body was located on May 13th in a secluded section of the river. An autopsy revealed that Hanamure died as a result of approximately 30 stab wounds.
“The sentencing of Randy Wescogame brings the criminal case to a close but it does not end the heartbreak of a father who lost his only daughter by such a horrible act of violence. I commend the work of the law enforcement agencies that contributed to this conviction,” stated Diane J. Humetewa, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
“Although justice was served today in the sentencing of Randy Wescogame, it does little to mitigate the loss of a daughter by her father” stated John E. Lewis, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Phoenix. “This case illustrates the cooperation between State, County, and Federal Law Enforcement to include the U.S. Attorney’s Office. These agencies utilized their respective resources in crime scene analysis, evidence collection, laboratory examination, and prosecutorial skill to effectively investigate this brutal murder and successfully prosecute Wescogame to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We are extremely gratified to hear of Randy Wescogame’s guilty plea, and believe it is a direct result of a close working relationship and cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement, during the investigation of this case,” stated Coconino County Sheriff Bill Pribil. “We hope this provides some closure for the Hanamure Family and their devastating loss.”
“The outcome of this investigation would not have been possible without the assistance from the FBI and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office,” said Special Agent in Charge Selanhongva McDonald of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. “I also want to thank the Havasupai Tribe for all the assistance they gave during this investigation. We hope the sentencing will offer closure to the family and the community.”
Wescogame has been in federal custody since December 2006. The five-count indictment by a federal grand jury in December 2006 in Phoenix alleged that Wescogame willfully murdered Hanamure in the course of kidnapping and robbing her on May 8, 2006. Wescogame pleaded guilty in September 2007 to Second Degree Murder.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Arizona Department of Public Safety. The prosecution was handled by Vincent Q. Kirby, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
CASE NUMBER: CR-06-1077-PCT
RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-161(Wescogame)