TOKYO: Japanese police on Thursday raided the home of a 67-year-old multi-millionaire arrested on suspicion of poisoning her latest husband after six other partners also died, and reportedly recovered cyanide from her trash.
Television footage showed about a dozen investigators, wearing masks and gloves, marching into the house of Chisako Kakehi in Kyoto a day after her arrest in Japan’s latest apparent “black widow” case.
Kakehi has been the beneficiary of a combined 800 million yen ($6.8 million) over the last two decades, Jiji Press news agency said — insurance money and other assets she received after the deaths of her seven partners, including the latest husband.
Kansai Televison, quoting investigators, reported that police had found cyanide hidden inside a trash bag at her home.
Husband number four Isao Kakehi fell sick suddenly at home and was confirmed dead at a hospital in December last year, less than two months after the couple married.
An autopsy found highly toxic cyanide compounds in his blood.
She has denied any involvement in his death.
Before her arrest, Kakehi told the Sankei newspaper: “I did not do it. Why would I do anything that would lead to my arrest over the death of my husband. I’m not that stupid.”
The autopsy came after the September death of a 75-year-old boyfriend, who fell suddenly ill after the couple ate together at a restaurant.
Kakehi’s dalliance with death began in 1994 when her first husband passed away at the age of 54.
In 2006, her second husband, whom she had met through a dating agency, died of a stroke aged 69, while the third marriage ended in 2008 with the death of her 75-year-old partner, Jiji said.
A boyfriend, believed to have been suffering from some form of cancer, died a year later, and in 2012 her then-fiance met his fate after collapsing while riding a motorbike.
If she is found to have been involved in the deaths of numerous partners, Kakehi will become the latest example in Japan of a “black widow”, named for the female spider that devours its mate after coupling.
In 2012 Kanae Kijima was sentenced to hang for the murders of three men, aged 41, 53 and 80, whom she met through Internet dating sites.
Another woman, former bar hostess Miyuki Ueta, is also waiting on the outcome of a supreme court appeal against a death sentence for the killing of two men.