A restaurant employee charged in a murder-for-insurance case has told police that she laced food and liquor served to a man whose body was later found floating in a river with the poisonous herb aconite, according to sources.

The body was found in the Tone River, Saitama Prefecture, in June 1995.

Experts have also detected in the body a substance very similar to that made when aconite is absorbed and dissolved in a human body. The substance was found in the internal organs of the corpse — preserved since an autopsy.

Mayumi Takemura, 33, of Honjo, Saitama Prefecture, who has been indicted for murder in the case, told investigators she had laced the food with aconite at the instruction of Shigeru Yagi, 50, a moneylender and owner of the restaurant in question.

Yagi is also charged with committing murder for insurance, the sources said.

Takemura has reportedly avoided indicating whether she had intended to kill.

Takemura, believed to be one of Yagi’s mistresses, also told police that she had collected the poisonous herb together with Yagi on Mount Yatsugadake in Nagano Prefecture.

When Sato was found dead in the Tone River, local police found little to indicate a crime had occurred.

Some 300 million yen in life insurance money was later paid to his widow, Analie Sato Kawamura, 35, who was also one of Yagi’s mistresses.

Most of the insurance money was delivered to Yagi, the investigation found.

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