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Gunma: Woman accused of dumping body of female acquaintance re-arrested for murder

Kazuko Ochiai
Kazuko Ochiai (Twitter)

GUNMA (TR) – Gunma Prefectural Police have applied fresh charges of murder to a 42-year-old woman already accused of dumping the body of a female acquaintance in Tatebayashi City three years ago, reports TBS News (Feb. 14).

Sometime in March, 2015, Kazuko Ochiai allegedly strangled Taka Hagiwara, an 84-year-old resident of Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, to death and robbed her of around 500,000 yen in cash.

The suspect then dumped her body in the Tatara River in the Hinatacho area of Tatebayashi, Gunma.

Hagiwara’s body was found with a plastic bag over her head and a handkerchief around her neck in the river on April 15 of that same year. Last month police arrested Ochiai and sent her to prosecutors on suspicion of abandoning a corpse. Police have not revealed whether the suspect has commented on the allegations.

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.

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.

As revealed following the initial arrest of Ochiai, the body of the third woman was found in the Tone River in Abiko City, Chiba Prefecture in June, 2015. No further information on that case has been provided.

At the time of the death of Hagiwara, Ochiai was in debt to consumer finance companies, police said. It is believed that she committed the crime to repay debts.