A back-up dancer and a musician have been arrested in connection with the death of Nicola Furlong, a 21 year old Irish foreign exchange student in Tokyo, Japan.
The dancer, 23 year old James Blackston, and the unidentified 19 year old musician (reported to be Larry Perry), met Furlong during a Nicki Minaj concert they were attending. It has not been confirmed whether the two are associated with the American rapper.
The U.S. State Department confirmed that the two Americans were arrested and a police investigation is under way. Blackston, AKA King Tight, supposedly appeared in music videos for Chris Brown, Black-Eyes Peas and J. Lo. His twitter account @kingtightbucc20 has disappeared and his MySpace profile is unavailable to view publicly.
Furlong, a Dublin City University student from Curracloe, Co Wexford, was spending time abroad at the Takasaki City University of Economics as part of the final year of her International Businesses and Languages degree.
Meeting up with her unidentified fellow female Irish friend, Furlong travelled 95km to Tokyo to attend the Nicki Minaj concert at a club in Koto ward. Police have reported that they met up with the two men there, before heading to dinner together after the show. Witnesses have reported seeing the women being pushed into a Taxi in central Tokyo on Wednesday night.
A guest had complained of a loud noise coming from a room at the Keio Plaza Hotel at 3am on Thursday morning. Investigating the disturbance, a hotel employee found Furlong unconscious on the floor with the musician standing by her. She was later confirmed dead at a nearby hospital. Autopsy reports have led police to believe that she was sexually assaulted after strangulation.
Furlong's friend meanwhile was found in Blackston's hotel room, and the two Americans have been charged with assaulting her, after sources claim she was raped in the taxi ride back to the hotel. It is common for Japanese police to arrest suspects on secondary charges whilst they gather evidence, and inquiries are now being made as to whether the two murdered Furlong as well. Police are also investigating whether the women had their drinks spiked before the assault.
In a statement issued yesterday, Ms Furlong's family spoke of their shock and grief over the tragic event.
"We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter/sister Nicola in such tragic circumstances. Nicola was a warm, generous, stunning person who always had time for her family and other people. Nicola will always be at the centre of our lives. She stood for everything that is good in life."
"The Japanese police are continuing their investigations into the circumstances surrounding Nicola's death. As these circumstances are unclear at this time we respectfully request time and space to mourn Nicola with dignity."
Ms Furlong was due to return home in July. Her remains will now return to Ireland this week.