Park Service: Boston music student died in murder-suicide

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MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah (AP) -- A 26-year-old Japanese woman attending a prestigious Boston music school was killed in a murder-suicide after telling her wealthy benefactor that she wanted to end their relationship, an investigator said.

Yu-Shung Lin, 61, drove a Ford Explorer off a cliff in southern Utah nearly a year ago, killing himself and Yuki Yoshida, authorities said.

The bodies of Lin and Yoshida were discovered inside the Explorer last Jan. 27, 12 days after the vehicle plunged off the edge of Mulley Point.

"It looks like this guy came here and thought he had some kind of romantic involvement ... and just went off the deep end," William Tracy, a Boston police detective, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The deaths were investigated by the National Park Service because they occurred within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in the southeastern corner of Utah, more than 300 miles from Salt Lake City.

The investigation, which stretched from Utah to Boston and overseas, revealed that Yoshida, a trumpet player, met Lin while playing at a Tokyo nightclub in February or March 2006.

"Shortly thereafter they began a romantic relationship with the understanding that Lin would pay her expenses to attend music school in the U.S.A. in exchange for sexual favors," Park Service Ranger Greg Kouns wrote in a report.

Yoshida moved to Boston in August 2006 to enroll at Berklee College of Music, and Lin paid for her apartment, Kouns said.

Lin's source of income was unknown, though he may have been involved in real estate in Tokyo, Kouns said.

In December 2006, Lin traveled to the United States to visit Yoshida, but she no longer wanted to engage in sexual activity and was assaulted, Kouns said.

Lin, a Chinese citizen, returned to Japan in January and subsequently contacted Yoshida to apologize.

"He wanted to renegotiate their agreement, offering her $20,000 if she would meet with him in Monument Valley, Utah," Kouns wrote in his report.

The report doesn't identify Kouns' sources, although someone described as Yoshida's mentor at the music school talked to police. The report was obtained by the Tribune and posted on its Web site this week.

Yoshida met Lin in Las Vegas on Jan. 13. The next day, they traveled to a lodge in Utah's Monument Valley.

On Jan. 15, they drove to an overlook, where Lin got out and took pictures of Yoshida sitting in the passenger seat of the sport utility vehicle.

Lin returned to the vehicle, drove 50 yards, struck a small tree, traveled over rough sandstone and went off the cliff, Kouns wrote in his report. Autopsies indicated they died on impact. A digital camera was recovered in the wreckage.

"There is no evidence to support or suggest that Yoshida was a willing participant in her death," he wrote. "Circumstantial evidence suggests that Yoshida had every intention of returning to school in Boston."

Kouns did not immediately return a message Wednesday from The Associated Press seeking further comment on the report.

Berklee issued a brief statement to the Tribune, saying a "moving and cathartic memorial service" was held for Yoshida in February.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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