Man in mummified bodies case cannot have record cleared


REXBURG — Ten years after authorities found the bodies of his wife and child in a Rexburg man’s home, his pursuit of a clean slate was denied Monday.

Kenichi David Kaneko, 74, pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter in 2007, three years after Madison

County Sheriff’s deputies found the partially mummified bodies of Lorraine and Laura Kaneko in the family’s double-wide trailer off of Salem Highway. Kaneko had lived with the corpses for years.

After completing a six-month mental health rider program and a six-year probation term, Kaneko pushed to have the charges dismissed by filing a motion for withheld judgment. A withheld judgment virtually erases someone’s charges once they complete probation.

District Judge Gregory Moeller ruled Monday that under Idaho Code the court did not have authority at this time to grant Kaneko a withheld judgment.

According to the statute, a judge can only consider a withheld judgment five years after the defendant has completed probation, or immediately after probation if the defendant files while serving his time. Moeller recommended to Steve Brown, Kaneko’s attorney, that since they did not file for a withheld judgment while Kaneko was on probation, they file again in 2018 when the law would apply.

Lorraine Kaneko’s brother, Doug Sakota, said Kaneko “will probably be dead by then,” because he is dying of cancer.

According to the motion, Kaneko was hoping to clear his name before he dies.

Madison County Sheriff Roy Klingler said in previous reports that the Kaneko family began withdrawing from friends and family in the ’80s. In 1997, relatives began requesting deputies do welfare checks on the Kanekos’ house.

Klingler reportedly checked on the house himself before becoming sheriff and didn’t see anything wrong.

In 2004, relatives confronted authorities again when they discovered Kaneko had lost his job and was staying in hotels. They were worried about Lorraine and Laura, neither of whom they’d seen in years.

After interviewing neighbors, deputies secured a court order to detain the missing mother and daughter to have them mentally evaluated.

When deputies entered the house, they found the home cluttered with trash bags, junk and hundreds of air fresheners. In a bedroom, they found the partially mummified bodies of Lorraine and Laura, lying side by side and covered with a blanket.

Deputies said Laura had been dead for three years and Lorraine for more than a year.

After a lengthy investigation, authorities concluded the women died from being malnourished. Kaneko was convicted for letting it happen.