About 30,000 people each year hike down a sandy, 10-mile trail that passes through the village of Supai on the Havasupai Reservation, tucked into a side gorge of the Grand Canyon. The Arizona Republic says that a vicious murder threatens to cast a cloud over the idyll the tribe protects. A Japanese tourist, Tomomi Hanamure, was stabbed 29 times and left in shallow water on May 9. Hanamure, 34, was traveling alone when she was killed. Her credit cards and other valuables were stolen.
Media scrutiny of the unsolved crime has been intense in Japan, with the story landing repeatedly on the front pages and television. It’s similar to the attention given in the U.S. to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba. Tribal officials have refused to talk to the media, escorting Japanese reporters out of the canyon. They posted a sign banning reporters. Like many tribes, they hold a deep suspicion of outsiders who put their lives and practices under scrutiny, while knowing they must reach out to tourists around the world to preserve their economy. Arizona officials are concerned about the incident’s impact on the state’s image abroad because there are about 100,000 visitors a year from Japan to the Grand Canyon. Up to 50 federal and state law enforcement officers have been trying to sort out what happened on the late afternoon of May 9.