WAYLAND, Mass. — Nathaniel Fujita, 18, has been charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Lauren Astley.
Astley’s father became concerned when his daughter did not check in with him after leaving work Sunday night and began calling her friends. Not long after, her Jeep Grand Cherokee was found at the Wayland Town Beach, but there was no sign of Astley.
On Monday morning, a bicyclist discovered Astley’s body in a marshy area off Water Row Road and called police. When police pulled Astley from the water, she had a bungee cord wrapped around her neck to go along with a “gaping, significant, and horrendous” neck wound.
On Tuesday, Middelex County DA Gerry Leone stated Astley was killed by strangulation from “a ligature and a wound to her neck using a sharp object.”
It didn’t take long for police to zero in on Fujita. He had dated Astley for three years and she had recently broke things off. Astley’s friends told police Fujita been calling her at work Sunday night and she had told them she was stopping by his house after work.
Police weren’t buying it and found some disturbing evidence when they searched his home. In the garage they found a lot of blood on the floor near some bungee cords. In the ceiling of Fujita’s room, officers found a garbage bag containing blood-soaked sneakers and some clothes covered in mud and water.
Fujita was subsequently taken into custody and charged with murder. He has been ordered held without bail until his next court appearance on August 15th.
Both Astley and Fujita were recent graduates of Wayland High School. Astley was to leave for North Carolina this fall where she was to attend Elon University. Fujita had been recruited to play football for Trinity College.
Astley’s father told reporters he did not know of any problems between his daughter and Fujita. “If I had thought there was anything amiss like that I would have been hot on it. I’m alert to those issues,” said Malcom Astley. He also had a message for Fujita’s parents. “Lauren’s mother and I share the anguish of Nate’s parents who put so much caring and love into Nate and my daughter as well. We want them to know that.”Tags: Crime, Domestic Violence, Lauren Astley, Massachusetts, Murder, Nathaniel Fujita, Strangulation