Prosecutors Friday charged a former Misawa airman with “damaging and disposing” his ex-wife’s body, and police said they suspect him of murder.

William Scott Omari McAllister, 25, who has been in Japanese custody since his August arrest on a fraud charge, is now suspected of murdering Naomi Kimura, 33, a Hachinohe police official said Saturday. Kimura was an owner of Purple Haze, a downtown Misawa bar. Her body was found in the trunk of a burned car on Hachinohe railroad tracks last July.

McAllister was arrested in August on suspicion of using an illegally obtained credit card to buy a car navigation system in February 2006. He is currently being tried for fraud in Hachinohe.

McAllister’s girlfriend, Ai Moriyama, 29 — arrested earlier this month on suspicion of giving false statements to police and helping McAllister evade arrest — was released, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

Earlier this month, Misawa base officials said that Japanese police are questioning 35th Maintenance Squadron Staff Sgt. Charles Johnson about the murder, and he has been restricted to the base.

McAllister worked at Misawa Air Base until December 2005 and married Kimura last April, according to media reports. They divorced two months later but McAllister continued to serve as a bartender at the bar after the divorce.

Kimura’s body was found July 21, 2006, in the trunk of a burned car abandoned on railway tracks on the outskirts of Hachinohe. An autopsy indicated Kimura had a broken neck and police believe that she was strangled to death, media reports said.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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