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Osaka woman accused in arson fire that killed partner

Mieko Ichikawa
Mieko Ichikawa

OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police on Tuesday arrested a 58-year-old woman in the murder of her common-law husband who died in a fire last year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Sep. 9).

At approximately 7:25 p.m. on December 14, a fire broke out inside a bedroom of the second-floor apartment in Nishinari Ward where 78-year-old Michiho Mishima was sleeping.

Fire department personnel later found Mishima’s body lying face up on a bed. He had received burns to the face. He was confirmed dead at a nearby hospital.

Mishima shared the residence with Mieko Ichikawa, who has been charged with murder and arson. The suspect denies the allegations. “I’m innocent,” she is quoted by police.

The results of an autopsy revealed sleeping medication inside Mishima’s system. At various times over the past two years, Mishima, who was in ill health, had been prescribed the medication. However, the quantities found inside his body far exceed recommended dosages.

Even though a lighter was found on the bed near Mishima’s body, police have ruled the cause of the fire to not be accidental. As well, police believe the drugs found in Mishima’s system prevented him from fleeing the blaze.

Ichikawa emerged as a suspect after she was seen behaving suspiciously in security camera footage taken before and after the incident.