Hi everyone ! I hope the beginning of the year is treating you well. Today, I bring you a case that involves several countries and a very familiar issue for a lot of us: a crazy ex who doesn’t let go. Ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between, I present to you the Nicolás Zepeda case, also known as the Narumi Kurosaki case !
Narumi Kurosaki was born on July 23rd, 1995 in Tokyo, Japan. Her parents end up separating, and she lives with her mother, Taeko, and her two sisters, Honami and Kurumi. When her family faces financial hardship, she takes up several part-time jobs while still going to school. In 2016, at 21, she arrives in France and starts studying at the Applied Linguistics Center in Besançon, with the intention of signing up for college. She is very cheerful, very open-minded. She is also very smart, which gets her several scholarships and grants, and she sends some of the money she receives to her mother back in Japan.
Nicolás Humberto Zepeda Contreras was born on December 11th, 1990 in Santiago, Chile. His father, Humberto Zepeda, is an executive and works for the mobile telephone operator Movistar. His mother, Ana Luz Contreras, is a secretary for a senator and works in the HR office of the town of La Serena. He has twin sisters, Belén and Josefa. He studies management sciences in college, and in 2014 he goes to Japan to pursue his studies. That’s where he meets Narumi.
A tumultuous relationship
The two begin a relationship in February 2015, and even meet their respective families. However, Nicolás rapidly becomes possessive, and tries to lead Narumi away from her family, expecting to be her absolute priority. Nicolás leaves Japan at the end of the school year, but comes back to look for employment in 2016.
On September 5th, as Nicolás is asking her to delete some of her male Facebook friends, Narumi tells him that she will never delete Arthur Del Piccolo, a guy she met in France. On September 7th, Nicolás puts a video online where he says that he will have to punish Narumi if she doesn’t meet certain « conditions ». The little narcissist is starting to get mad.
Narumi officially puts an end to their relationship in September, shortly after arriving in France, and starts dating Arthur instead. Nicolás will later give a much later date for their breakup (October 6th). He is then admitted in a specialized center for behavioral problems, but not for long enough apparently…
A long trip for Nicolás…and Narumi
Nicolás arrives at the Geneva airport in Switzerland on November 29th, 2016. On the next day, he goes to Dijon, France, and retrieves a rental car. On Thursday, December 1st, still in Dijon, he goes to a supermarket and buys 5 liters of heating fuel, a box of matches and a chlorine detergent sprayer. After that, he spends half a day in the forest of Chaux. Between December 1st and December 4th, he makes the trip to Besançon everyday, hanging out near Narumi’s school and dorm. On Friday the 2nd, two students see him hiding inside the dorm.
On the night of the 4th, around 3:20am, a dozen student’s in Narumi’s dorm are woken up by screams and thuds. The next day, Narumi, who usually never misses a lesson, isn’t seen in class. That evening, her new boyfriend Arthur goes to her room with some of her friends, but Narumi doesn’t come to the door. Instead, Arthur receives a message from her telling him to leave her alone.
For his part, Nicolás’ car is parked in front of Narumi’s dorm from December 4th to December 6th. It starts moving again at 4:23am, and between 5:55am and 7:44am, the car’s tracker places it in the forest of Chaux. He brings the rental car back to Dijon on December 7th. The car is covered in mud, outside and inside.
After that, Nicolás goes to Barcelona, Spain, where he spends a couple days with his cousin Juan. He doesn’t tell him anything about meeting Narumi, but talks about her in the past tense and asks his cousin question about death by asphyxiation.
On December 12th, Nicolás goes back to Chile.
In the days following her disappearance, Narumi’s family and friends receive messages from her Facebook account saying that she has an issue with her passport and that she needs to go to Lyon to solve it. Her credit card is used to book a train ticket to go there, but she isn’t seen on the train. Moreover, Narumi wouldn’t need to go to the Lyon consulate for a passport problem, but to the Strasbourg consulate. After that first lie, Narumi’s loved ones receive new messages saying that she is leaving with a new boyfriend.
The last connection on Narumi’s Facebook account is made on December 13th, a day after Nicolás’ return to Chile.
The judicial battle
On December 14th, Narumi’s school contacts the police. The investigators enter Narumi’s room, which is very clean. That’s strange because Narumi isn’t one to keep her room that clean. Her coat, laptop and wallet are there, but a blanket, a suitcase and her phone are missing. Fingerprints and DNA evidence, which will be later attributed to Nicolás, are discovered on a cup, a bottle of water, a t-shirt, the walls, the floor, and the bathroom. The police first suspects Arthur, who then tells them about Nicolás. He describes him as a jealous and possessive guy who has pirated Narumi’s Facebook account before to delete her male friends. This lead becomes credible when investigators find out that on the evening of December 4th, Narumi and Nicolás had dinner together in a restaurant, and Nicolás accompanied her back to her dorm.
On December 26th, an international arrest warrant is issued against Nicolás.
On December 30th, Nicolás voluntarily goes to his local police station. He explains that he met Narumi by accident, and that they had dinner together before going back to her dorm (at her own behest, mind you) to have intense sexual intercourse, which would explain the screams that the students heard during the night. After that, Narumi felt guilty about cheating on Arthur, and asked Nicolás to leave. Again according to him, he lost his phone on the way out and ended up going through the emergency exit (which doesn’t have cameras) instead of the main door while looking for it. A credible story told by a credible guy.
On January 25th, 2017, the French Ministry of Justice asks for the temporary arrest of Nicolás as well as his extradition. On February 3rd, the Supreme Court of Chile refuses, citing a lack of evidence, and instead forbids Nicolás from leaving the country for 2 months. Nicolás appears before a Chilean court on February 14th and continues to say he’s innocent.
After that, several discussions occur between Chilean, French and Japanese authorities.
In early 2019, the case records are translated and sent to Chilean investigators. And after an official demand for international collaboration, a French delegation goes to Santiago on April 16th to attend Nicolás’ interrogation, which happens on April 18th, and during which he uses his right to remain silent.
On May 18th, 2020, the Chilean Supreme Court finally authorizes Nicolás’ extradition to France. He arrives in Besançon on July 24th, and is immediately indicted and placed in detention.
Nicolás Zepeda’s trial begins on March 29th, 2022, and it’s a big one: 6 translators, rebroadcasting in several courtrooms, video testimonies…
Nicolás is represented by Jacqueline Laffont, who also represented before former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and former minister Nicolas Hulot.
During the trial, Nicolás switches between total apathy and corcodile tears. Experts talk about his personality as being manipulative and emotionally deficient.
On April 12th, 2022, Nicolás is sentenced to 28 years of prison. Faced with that verdict, he remains impassive. His appeal process has already begun, and his next court date is on February 21st, 2023.
1500 hours of searches have been conducted between December 2016 and July 2018 to try to find Narumi’s body. Sadly, it hasn’t yet been recovered.
And that’s where this case ends for now. Let’s hope Nicolás reveals some things during his next court appearance. I will keep you updated. Meanwhile, tell me what you think about this case in the comments or on r/Murder_Wine_Cheese ! And if you can, please make a little donation so I can spend more time creating better content for you ! That being said, I hope you find money on the floor somewhere and I’ll see you next time !