Japan Busts 'Black Widow' With 7 Dead Lovers

Chisako Kakehi charged after cyanide found in husband No. 4
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2014 2:43 PM CST
Updated Nov 20, 2014 1:10 AM CST
Japan Busts 'Black Widow' With 7 Dead Lovers
This May 23, 2014 photo shows Chisako Kakehi in Osaka, western Japan.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

If everybody supposedly has one thing they're really great at, well, Japanese police say that a 67-year-old woman is criminally great at being a widow. It seems that no fewer than seven of Chisako Kakehi's husbands and lovers have met untimely ends, reports the AFP, and police on Wednesday charged her on suspicion of poisoning husband No. 4, who died in December after less than two months of wedded bliss. Autopsy results showed cyanide compounds in his blood. A timeline of the alleged black widow's other fallen love interests:

  • 1994: Husband No. 1 dies at 54.
  • 2006: Husband No. 2, a 69-year-old Kakehi met through a dating agency, dies of a stroke.

  • 2008: Husband No. 3 dies at 75 of unknown causes.
  • 2009: A boyfriend dies, possibly of cancer.
  • 2012: A fiance collapses and dies after riding a motorcycle; traces of cyanide are detected.
  • September 2013: A 75-year-old boyfriend collapses and dies after the pair ate at a restaurant.
  • December 2013: Husband No. 4, Isao Kakehi, dies; that's the death in which Kakehi is charged.
"Given their advanced age, we have to proceed carefully to judge whether their deaths were actually the result of foul play or not," an investigator tells the AFP. However, "we suspect she did it for money." The Japan Times notes police have no evidence that she bought cyanide, but the AP reports capsules and wafers to wrap powdered medicine were today removed from her apartment as possible evidence. Kakehi is described as a "millionairess," and police say she's collected some $6.8 million in insurance and assets from being "doomed by fate," as she put it earlier this year. (Meanwhile, here's what it's like to be bitten by a black widow of the spider variety.)

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