Tokyo, Nov 21: A so-called "black widow" in Japan suspected of killing up to six partners for money, was still on the hunt for an "unattached elderly man with assets" when her fourth husband was poisoned with cyanide, reports said on Friday.
Chisako Kakehi, 67, who was arrested this week on suspicion of murdering her 75-year-old spouse, had received one billion yen (USD 8.5 million) in insurance and other payouts over ten years following the deaths of husbands and lovers.
But the former bank worker, who held the money in more than 10 different accounts under several different names, had lost most of the cash in bad bets on futures markets, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.
In a case that has gripped Japan for days, the Asahi newspaper reported Kakehi had been involved with more than 10 men over the last two decades, of whom six had perished. Most of the men had been found through marriage agencies, where she would look for partners who had land or property, but no children, the paper quoted investigation sources as saying.
Soon after Isao Kakehi -- her fourth and most recent husband -- died in December 2013, she was on the prowl for a new companion, it said. She wanted the man to be "elderly" and "living alone," the paper said, citing an investigator.
She had inherited hundreds of millions of yen after her husbands death
She also made remarks suggesting that "it would be better if he has an illness". Over the course of several doomed relationships, Kakehi -- dubbed a "black widow" after the female spider that eats its mate after coupling -- had inherited hundreds of millions of yen in real estate, bank deposits and insurance money, Jiji Press said.
But the cash was all gone after a series of failed bets on the financial markets, and she had racked up debts of 10 million yen by the time she married Isao Kakehi in November last year. He died the following month. The nuptials did not stop her courting other men, Jiji said, reporting that she had arranged a "marriage meeting" with an older man shortly after she took her vows.
The Nikkan Sports Daily said she was in relationships with several other men around the time of her fourth husband's death. She was registered at a number of marriage agencies in western Japan using different names and said she was looking for an "unattached elderly man with certain assets," the paper reported.
Police who raided her home in Kyoto yesterday found traces of cyanide in the rubbish, media said.