National / Crime & Legal

‘Black widow’ indicates involvement in additional deaths: police sources

Kyodo

A four-time widow who has purportedly confessed to poisoning her husband and another partner with cyanide has hinted at her involvement in the deaths of several other men, investigative sources said on Wednesday.

The media has dubbed Chisako Kakehi, 68, a “black widow.” But it remains unclear whether her comments about the other deaths are credible as she did not provide specifics, the sources said.

Kakehi says she was involved in the death of an elderly man in Hyogo Prefecture as well as several other male acquaintances in addition to the husband and partner, the sources said.

Investigators are likely to find it difficult to open a new investigation into the men’s deaths, as foul play was not suspected at the time and there is now little evidence to go on.

What is known is that around 10 men who were married to or otherwise associated with Kakehi have died, and that she received inheritance worth around ¥1 billion.

She invested in risky financial products and real estate, and is said to have been more than ¥10 million in debt at the time of her arrest in November.

Kakehi was indicted in December on a charge of causing the death of her 75-year-old husband, Isao Kakehi. He died at the couple’s home in Kyoto Prefecture on Dec. 28, 2013. They had married the previous month.

She was served with another arrest warrant in late January on suspicion of killing Masanori Honda, a 71-year-old unemployed man from Kaizuka, Osaka Prefecture, with whom she was in a common-law marriage, in March 2012.

Cyanide compounds were detected in the bodies of the two men, the sources said, and she purportedly confessed to causing the two deaths.