GUNMA (TR) – Gunma Prefectural Police have revealed that a 42-year-old woman sent to prosecutors for allegedly dumping the body of a female acquaintance in Tatebayashi City three years ago was present with another woman who was found dead in Chiba Prefecture that same year, reports Fuji News Network (Jan. 25).
Sometime in March, 2015, Kazuko Ochiai allegedly dumped the body of Taka Hagiwara, an 84-year-old resident of Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, in the Tatara River in the Hinatacho area of Tatebayashi, Gunma.
On Thursday, Ochiai was sent to prosecutors on suspicion of abandoning a corpse.
According to a previous report, Ochiai and Hagiwara were acquainted through their work in the cosmetics industry. Hagiwara was reported missing on March 25, 2015.
In the latest development, police said that Ochiai revealed during voluntary questioning before her arrest that she, Hagiwara and another woman, aged in her 40s, ventured out together by car on the day Hagiwara was reported missing.
The body of the third woman was found in the Tone River in Abiko City, Chiba in June, 2015.
Bag over her head and handkerchief around her neck
Hagiwara’s body was found with a plastic bag over her head and a handkerchief around her neck in the Tatara River on April 15 of that same year.
During the investigation, police found a jacket stained with Hagiwara’s blood inside a vehicle in a parking lot in Gunma. At the time, media reports indicated that the car belonged to a woman in her 40s.
As well, several million yen were withdrawn from Hagiwara’s bank account on the day she disappeared. Surveillance camera footage showed Hagiwara with another woman at an ATM.
Police are now investigating whether there is a connection between the deaths of the two women.