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Issei Sagawa


While studying at the Censier Institute in Paris, Sagawa found his victim. She was 25-year-old Renee Hartevelt, an intelligent student who represented all that Sagawa desired.

Hartevelt was an independent woman with blonde hair and white skin. She spoke three languages and hoped to get a Ph.D. in French Literature.

Sagawa asked her to teach him her native language, German. He assured her that he would be able to pay her well because his father was wealthy. She agreed.

They quickly became friends. Hartevelt liked the way she could discuss anything with Sagawa. They even went to concerts and exhibits together.

One day, Sagawa invited her for dinner. While there, he asked her to read a poem by his favorite German impressionist. After she left, he smelled and licked the place where she had sat.

He asked her to come over once again and read the poem, explaining that he wanted to record the recital. On June 11, 1981, Hartevelt entered the apartment of Sagawa for the last time.

Sagawa seated Hartevelt on the floor Japanese-style so they could have tea. He put some whiskey in her drink to make her less alert. He then told her he loved her and wanted to take her to bed.

She resisted him and explained that she felt their relationship was purely intellectual.

As she read the poem, Sagawa shot her in the back of the neck with a .22 caliber rifle. She fell off her chair.

Sagawa would later say that he was surprised at her quietness. He then noticed the amount of blood on the floor. He tried to clean it up, but gave up.

He removed her clothing and then cut off the tip of her left breast and a piece of her nose. He ate both.

Next, he tried to bite into her buttock, but found it difficult to do. He instead cut out a chunk. He said the fat that oozed out looked and felt like corn.

He placed the chunk of her buttock into his mouth. He later said, "[It] melted in my mouth like raw tuna in a sushi restaurant."

He used an electric carving knife to cut up the rest of her body. He neatly laid out strips of her flesh to store for later meals. He nibbled on a few pieces of raw flesh as he worked.

He took photos of the corpse and had sex with her. He told her he loved her.

He fried some of her flesh and dipped it in mustard. As he ate, he listened to the recording of her reciting the poem. He used her underwear as a napkin.

When he got tired, he took her corpse with him to bed. The next day, he chewed on her arm from the underarm to the elbow. He cut out her anus and put it in his mouth, but spit it out because of its putrid smell.

Once the flies started swarming around her corpse, he stopped eating.

He chopped what remained of Hartevelt's body into pieces that were small enough to fit in suitcases he had bought for the occasion.

This excited him sexually. He used her hand to masturbate and nibbled on her nose. He then removed her lips and set them aside.

He cut off her tongue and watched himself chew it in the mirror. He tried to take out her internal organs, but stung his hands on the digestive fluids.

He cut her head off with a hatchet.

Next, he called a cab and took the suitcases filled with her remains to Bois de Boulogne. Once inside the park, Sagawa had the intention of throwing the suitcases into a pond. However, he saw people watching him, so he just put down the suitcases and left.

He went back to his apartment and ate a piece of her every day while flipping through pornographic materials.

Two days after Hartevelt's murder, Sagawa was arrested.


Source: Court TV's Crime Library


Issei Sagawa:
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  • Renee Hartevelt, 25, was independent woman with all of the traits that Sagawa desired
  • Sagawa asked Hartevelt to teach him German, she agreed
  • They became friends who went to exhibits and concerts together
  • Sagawa invited her for dinner and she read a poem by his favorite German impressionist
  • He invited her back- wanted to record her reading poem
  • June 11, 1981- Hartevelt went to Sagawa's apartment to recite poem
  • He told her he wanted to take her to bed
  • She declined and started reading the poem
  • Shot in back of neck
  • Sagawa mutilated her body, cutting off various pieces and eating them
  • He took her corpse to bed with him
  • He cut up her remains and put them into suitcases
  • Took suitcases to park and left them
  • Came home and ate a piece of her every day while looking at pornographic materials
  • June 13, 1981- He was arrested in his apartment
Copyright © 2003 Heather Rawlins