A resident of Japan who had frequently traveled to Guam recalled first meeting Patrick Ken Sakai for riding lessons before developing a brotherly relationship.
“For me, he’s sort of the older brother,” Koji Oribe said. “He gave me a lot of wisdom.”
Sakai, 63, was found dead in Yigo in January. His death, qualified as homicide, remains unsolved.
Oribe, 52, currently works as an accountant in Tokyo, but before that he traveled to Guam in the early 2000s to receive his public accountancy certificate. After getting his license, Oribe said he had an affinity for Guam and continued to visit over the years.
“That’s when I met Patrick,” Oribe said.
He recalled learning to ride a horse in Sakai, and later developed a friendship that included discussing their shared Japanese heritage.
At 7:26 a.m. Jan. 23, the Guam Police Department launched an investigation into the death of Chalan Emsely in Yigo, spokeswoman Officer Berlyn Savella said in a news release.
Although initially flagged as a possible suicide, patrol officers discovered the man had injuries indicating foul play, Savella added.
In the following weeks, GPD was able to identify Sakai.
An autopsy determined that Sakai had died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma.
Six months after Sakai’s discovery, the investigation remains open and ongoing with no new updates in the case, Savella said earlier this week.
Although his last visit to Guam was in September 2017, Oribe was able to learn of Sakai’s death by reading the news online.
“I was really surprised and at the same time I was saddened,” Oribe said. He said he plans to visit Guam every two or three years before starting his current job.
“I didn’t have time, and COVID-19 prevented me from traveling…so I couldn’t see it. At the same time, I know he didn’t have a cell phone either, so there’s no way to contact him except by conventional mail,” Oribe added.
Oribe said that even when he last saw Sakai in 2017, he started to worry about him.
“His business was almost closed because maybe six or seven months before he had been hit by a car and had heavy damage to his back, so he had been standing still for a long time. At the same time, his horses had aged and some of them were already blind, so he had to take care of his animals,” Oribe said.
Oribe described first traveling to the island as a tourist, but then the trips turned into visiting a friend.
“I was a guest first, and after that when we developed a bigger friendship… I visited him (and) stayed much longer than the next times I went for nothing,” said said Oribe.
On some visits, Oribe would bring food from Japan to give Sakai.
“He was really happy about that,” Oribe said.
“When I first met him, he seemed very strict, but at the same time he’s a very shy person. He didn’t talk much, but once we developed a relationship, he was really friendly and we talked a lot like an older brother.