The family of a young Warwickshire teacher found strangled in an apartment in Japan fear reports of her suspected killer's possible suicide could cause a scaling down of the police inquiry.
In a statement issued through representatives, Lindsay Ann Hawker's family said rumours of the death of Tatsuya Ichihashi - in whose flat she was found buried in a bathtub - could lead to a cut in the number of officers on the case.
The body of 22-year-old Ms Hawker, from Brandon, near Coventry, was discovered on the balcony of the apartment in Chiba in March last year. Ichihashi, the only suspect in the investigation, has not been seen since.
A national newspaper reported police believe he would have been caught by now if still alive, and that he must have committed suicide in a remote area where he may never be found.
The Hawker family said they have been told on a number of occasions by Japanese police there is a possibility Ichihashi may have killed himself.
"At this present time there is no evidence to show that this has happened and we feel that this would be a very easy escape for him," they said. "It is two years since Lindsay left home to go to teach in Japan and more than 18 months on we still have no justice.
Thousands of wanted posters have been distributed of Ichihashi as part of the mammoth police search, but elite detectives in Tokyo reportedly hold little hope of finding him.
Ms Hawker studied at Leeds University before leaving home in October 2006 to work abroad.