Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Hiroko Nemoto, a Japanese national studying English at Michigan State University, lived in East Lansing, Michigan when she traveled to Alaska. Nemoto departed from Lansing, Michigan on a Northwest Airlines flight to Anchorage, Alaska on June 3. She normally phoned her mother in Japan weekly, but she did not tell any of her loved ones that she did not intend to return to her native country. Nemoto told a friend she intended to stay in Alaska for a month, But she purchased only a one-way ticket from Northwest Airlines.
Authorities determined that Nemoto traveled to Denali National Park and Preserve near Mount McKinley after arriving in Alaska. She returned to Anchorage shortly afterwards and spent one night at a youth hostel before traveling to Wasilla, which is approximately 50 miles north of Anchorage on June 7, 1998. Local police tracked her to the Windbreak Hotel in Wasilla on June 8, 1998. She had breakfast with a man she met June 9. He drove her to the bus station to catch a bus to Denali Park. That was the last time Nemoto was seen. She was not seen at Denali park.
Investigators established that she purchased a train ticket from Anchorage to Whittier, Alaska and a ferry ticket from Whittier to Valdez, Alaska. It is unclear if Nemoto arrived at her destinations.
Nemoto was a senior majoring in psychology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan in 1998. She told a friend that she did not plan to return to school the following semester, as she believed that her degree would lead to employment solely in research. Nemoto's friend said that she wanted to work in clinical psychology. Nemoto's friend also stated that Nemoto sold the majority of her clothing and personal belongings in early June. Her friend said that Nemoto gave her numerous Japanese mementos. Nemoto's friend and her husband took Nemoto to dinner shortly before her scheduled return to Japan on June 3, 1998.
Her friend stated that Nemoto was an excellent student who received a lower grade than expected in one of her classes during the spring semester. Nemoto was apparently upset about the matter and her friend believed it lead to her decision to leave college, although she was only ten credits shy of completing her undergraduate degree.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Anchorage Police Department
Alaska State Troopers