"People listened. People understood you. It wasn't your fault," Kogawa said, in tears, through her interpreter outside the courtroom.
Over the course of the two-week trial, the court heard sordid details of the condition in which Kogawa, 30, was found dead in Vancouver's West End two years ago.
Her body was found hidden in a suitcase outside Gabriola Mansion, a historic building on Davie Street.
The discovery was made three weeks after she went missing, when Schneider's brother, Warren Schneider Jr., tipped off police.
RCMP arrested William Schneider, 51, in Vernon, B.C., on Sept. 28, 2016 — the same day they found Kogawa's body.
During the trial, Schneider pleaded guilty to the charge of interfering with human remains or offering an indignity to a dead body as lawyers were set to begin their final arguments.
Crown counsel Geordie Proulx said the jury made the right decision, noting the trial was particularly hard on the Crown witnesses and the family of the deceased.
"We had the death of a young woman not associated in any way with any criminal lifestyle and she's found dead in a suitcase on the grounds of a mansion — if that's not enough to make it difficult, I don't know what is," Proulx said.
The count of second-degree murder comes with a mandatory life sentence, with parole eligibility to be determined. The count of interfering with human body comes with a maximum five-year sentence.
Emiko Kogawa attended every day of the trial. Through an interpreter she said she wanted people to see her daughter Natsumi as a caring, positive person.
"She was open to everybody, very curious. She always wanted to learn more and had big dreams."
The mother and daughter spoke frequently, with Natsumi encouraging her mother to visit Vancouver, which she described as a beautiful city where "she was surrounded by wonderful people."
In their last conversation, Kogawa said her daughter encouraged her to go to bed because it was late in the evening in Japan.
Asked what she would like to say to her daughter today, Kogawa said "Watch us from heaven."
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A former Vernon man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Japanese exchange student Natsumi Kogawa.
The jury found William Victor Schneider, 51, guilty of murder despite him entering a last-minute guilty plea to interfering with human remains.
Police found Kogawa's naked body stuffed into a suitcase on the grounds of a vacant mansion on Sept. 28, 2016. She had been reported missing three weeks earlier.
When surveillance images of Schneider and Kogawa at a Vancouver mall were made public, he fled to Vernon.
He was camping in Polson Park when he told his brother where Kogawa's body could be found. He was arrested by RCMP the same day Vancouver police located her remains.
Emiko Kogawa, Natsumi's mother, broke down in court and said through an interpreter the ordeal has been very difficult for the family.