National / Crime & Legal

Nurse who allegedly drugged colleagues arrested on attempted murder charge

Kyodo

A 71-year-old nurse has been arrested on a charge of attempted murder after allegedly drugging the drinks of two people and causing them to have a car accident, the Chiba Prefectural Police said.

Police arrested Aiko Hatano on Tuesday for allegedly letting a 69-year-old woman who works at the same nursing care facility and her 71-year-old husband drink tea laced with a sleep-inducing drug on May 15, knowing they would later drive home. The two crashed into a van driven by a 56-year-old man in Sakura, Chiba. The woman broke her rib in the accident, and the two men suffered slight injuries.

Hatano, from the city of Inzai, was first arrested on June 21 on suspicion of giving a colleague a beverage mixed with a sedative, according to the police. Since April, a number of workers reported feeling dizzy, sleepy and unsteady on their feet, according to the facility.

Police said Hatano has admitted that she mixed the drugs into her colleagues’ drinks but was vague about whether she intended to kill them.

An investigative source said Wednesday that another 60-year-old female worker at the facility was killed in a car accident on Feb. 5, and that police are investigating possible connections to other cases.

Hatano has been working at the facility since October 2015 and had been in charge of managing health conditions of residents. The incident came to light in mid-June after a worker witnessed her pouring a liquid into a beverage served to another female worker in her 30s, which led to her initial arrest.

Hatano took the same sleep-inducing medicine regularly and kept it at her desk in the facility, the police said.

A 44-year-old man who heads the facility said the incident came as a “great surprise,” adding that there were no signs of discord among workers.

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