Woman held for killing husbands, mother-in-law

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Woman held for killing husbands, mother-in-law

A 44-year-old woman has been detained by police for questioning over whether she fatally poisoned her ex-husband, current husband and mother-in-law from 2011 to 2013.

The suspected black widow living in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, is also alleged to have fed her own daughter a non-lethal dose of poison to make her sick and get insurance money.

“We believe she killed the victims because of conflicts or to earn death benefits,” said a police officer at the Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency on Tuesday. “The investigation was launched after insurance companies tipped off the police that her family members died and she received huge sums in insurance.”

Police say that in May 2011, the woman, who is surnamed Noh, allegedly killed her ex-husband, who was surnamed Kim, by putting a beverage in the refrigerator that had been spiked with a poisonous herbicide Gramoxone, which was used so frequently for suicides that it was taken off the market in 2012. Local police concluded that Kim committed suicide based on his family members’ statements.

According to the police, Kim’s sister reports her brother had “received a large inheritance from their parents but lost it all and was in debt because of his business.”

Noh allegedly tried to murder Kim’s mother with the same substance but failed. Noh married another man named Lee in March 2012, but is suspected to have killed him and his mother with the toxic herbicide. Police say Noh felt slighted by the mother-in-law, who died in January 2013. She allegedly poisoned Lee in August 2013 and received an insurance payout.

The police said they did not launch investigations when Lee and his mother died because the victims were diagnosed to have died from pneumonia at the hospital.

Police discovered that Noh received 450 million won ($410,000) from three insurance companies for her first husband’s death. The beneficiary was the divorced couple’s daughter, but she was a minor and Noh controlled the money.

After second husband Lee died, an insurance payout of 530 million won went to the couple’s 1-year-old son, but Noh once again controlled the money.

According to the police, Noh said during questioning that she killed the mother-in-law because she looked down not just on her but also her kids. She also allegedly received 7 million won in insurance claims after poisoning her daughter three times with non-lethal doses of the herbicide, according to the police.

She did not mean to kill the daughter, police said.

According to the police, Noh bought gold bars and a car with the insurance money she received. The police also believe she bought a 20-million-won bicycle and frequently enjoyed skiing in the winter.

The police are looking into other possible crimes and accomplices.

BY KIM BONG-MOON [kim.bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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