Cops: Woman Laced Study Partner's Coffee With Cyanide

Jakarta police arrest Jessica Kumala, 27
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2016 2:02 PM CST
Cops: Woman Laced Study Partner's Coffee With Cyanide
Indonesian women are silhouetted against the city skyline which is shrouded by the haze from forest fires, in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Indonesian authorities arrested a woman Saturday for allegedly lacing her friend's coffee with a lethal does of cyanide, Australia's News Network reports. Investigators say Jessica Kumala, 27, arrived early at a cafe in central Jakarta and ordered an iced coffee for friend Wayan Mirna Salihin, 27—who soon showed up to join Kumala and a friend. Mirna apparently took a sip, complained it tasted bad, fell over convulsing, and later died at a hospital. "Jessica’s statement is highly inconsistent with the facts we have gathered," says chief detective Krishna Murti. He added that police have assembled 20 witness statements and re-enacted the crime. "We can ignore the suspect's testimony in this case according to the Criminal Code," he tells the Jakarta Post.

But Kumala reiterated her innocence this week after being grilled by police for the fifth time, the Jakarta Globe reports. "I do not know where the cyanide came from," she says. "I just want to help police and Mirna's family reveal who was behind all of this." Her uncle and lawyer, Yudi Wibowo, says his niece is innocent and doubts Mirna died from cyanide poisoning. He adds that Mirna tasted the coffee herself, something Kumala denies: "I suffer from a stomach disorder and the coffee is too strong, thus I did not taste it," she says. Wibowo also denied rumors that his niece was having an affair with Mirna's new husband. Mirna and Kumala had studied together in Australia, apparently at a college of design in Sydney. (More murder stories.)

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