National

Osaka man held in alleged drowning of wife for insurance money

Kyodo

An Osaka man was arrested on suspicion of drowning his wife last summer while snorkeling in Wakayama Prefecture and disguising it as an accident so he could collect the insurance payout, police said Friday.

Takashi Noda, a 29-year-old driver, allegedly drowned his restaurant manager wife, Shiho, 28, at the beach in the town of Shirahama on July 18, 2017.

The woman was pronounced dead at a hospital two days later, according to the police. The man, who was arrested Thursday, has not addressed the allegation.

The couple, who got married around 2015, were in the middle of divorce negotiations at the time, and Noda was designated the beneficiary of his wife’s ¥30 million ($279,000) life insurance payout, investigative sources and his wife’s coworkers said.

A postmortem found a large amount of sand in her body, suggesting she was drowned in shallow water, the sources said.

At the time, Noda called for help and joined the rescue effort alongside a lifeguard, claiming that his wife drowned while he was in the bathroom. But suspicions were immediately raised because the woman was a licensed scuba diver.

It was the suspect’s idea to go to the beach, the police said.

The police said that Noda has been arrested four times since December 2017 over theft and other allegations, and that he was charged with theft in three cases.

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