Elderly lady arrested in poison case

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Elderly lady arrested in poison case

Local police Friday arrested a suspect in the case of the pesticide-laced soft drinks that led to one death and five hospitalizations in a village in Sangju, North Gyeongsang.

On Tuesday afternoon, a local resident in the village called an ambulance after finding six women unconscious at a village hall. The group reportedly shared a 1.5 liter (1.5 quart) bottle of soda, unaware it was tainted.

According to police on Friday, they found a soft drink bottle without a top in the yard of the home of a female resident in the village in her 80s. The bottle contained traces of the same pesticide as in the soft drink. Police said the top found on the bottle of the pesticide-laced soft drink in the village hall originally came from the bottle found near the old woman’s house. Law enforcement is searching the suspect’s home with a search warrant, the police said.

The suspect is reportedly denying any involvement. But she was on the scene when the women fell unconscious. The police said the suspect keeps changing her statement as to why she didn’t call the police herself at the time.

Meanwhile, three of the six elderly women who drank the pesticide-laced soft drink are still in critical condition. One woman died Wednesday morning, and two have regained consciousness. The National Forensic Service confirmed Tuesday that pesticide was mixed in the soft drink. According to police, the substance found in the soda was banned from being sold in Korea in 2012.

After looking at CCTV footage that recorded all vehicles and bicycles entering and leaving the village, police suspected the perpetrator was a village resident. It questioned all 86 residents and pinpointed five potential suspects.

BY KIM YOUN-HO, NAM YOON-SEO [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]

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