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Nathaniel Fujita Charged With Ex-Girlfriend Lauren Astley's Murder

Officials say blood and bungee cords were found in Wayland High School grad Fujita's garage.

Nathaniel Fujita, 18, of Wayland was ordered held without bail by Framingham District Court Judge Robert Greco Tuesday afternoon, following Fujita’s arrest on the charge of murdering his former girlfriend, Lauren Astley, also 18.

Astley's body was found in a marshy area of Water Row in Wayland on the morning of July 4.

Fujita stood in court wearing an orange Wayland football T-shirt and black shorts, with his hands cuffed in front of him. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf.

Family members of both Fujita and Astley attended the arraignment, and Astley’s father, Malcolm, issued a statement to the media following the arraignment. (Video of the statement to be posted soon.) Lauren Astley was set to attend Elon University in the fall. 

After asking that Fujita be held without bail, Assistant District Attorney Lisa McGovern told Judge Greco what she cast as a string of events leading up to and following the discovery of Astley’s body Monday morning.

McGovern said that Fujita and Astley, both of whom graduated from Wayland High School in June, had been in a three-year relationship that ended recently. 

Astley left work at the Natick Collection around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, McGovern said, and had received three calls from Fujita that evening.  Astley was reported missing by her parents around 11 p.m. Her car was found, with the windows down and her purse and a laptop computer inside, at the Wayland Town Beach later that night.

Fujita had been with his parents at a barbecue that night, but left after telling them he was going to buy bodybuilding equipment. 

McGovern said police spoke with Fujita Sunday night around 11 p.m. at midnight, then again at 7 a.m. After obtaining a warrant to search the home where Fujita lives with his parents, at 108 West Plain St., police found a significant amount of blood on the floor of the garage, and bungee cords, McGovern said.

A bungee cord was also found wrapped around Astley’s neck when her body was discovered, partially submerged, McGovern said, in that marshy area on Water Row.

Police also found in Fujita’s home blood that had been cleaned up in the kitchen, in the kitchen sink and in a second floor bathroom sink, McGovern said. Inside a crawlspace in Fujita’s room, a pair of sneakers covered in blood and a bag of clothing soaked in water and dirt was also found, she added.

Fujita was arrested Tuesday around 2 a.m. at his aunt’s house in Framingham, McGovern said.

Fujita’s lawyer, William Sullivan, of Sullivan and Sweeney, LLP in Quincy, asked Judge Greco to release Fujita on $10,000 cash bail and that he be placed under house arrest with a electronic monitoring device.

Sullivan said that Fujita has no prior record and many ties to the community. He said Fujita planned to enroll at Trinity College in the fall and did not pose a flight risk. 

Judge Greco ordered Fujita to be held without bail. A probable cause hearing was set for Aug. 15. 

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