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Suspect pleads not guilty to murder of 84-year-old woman found in Gunma river in 2015

A 43-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of killing an 84-year-old woman and then dumping her body in the Tatara River in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, on April 15, 2015, pleaded not guilty at the opening session of her trial at the Gunma District Court on Wednesday.
The victim, Taka Hagiwara, had a plastic bag over her head and a scarf pulled tightly around her neck when she was found in the river.
The defendant, Kazuko Ochiai, said she and Hagiwara were former colleagues but said she had nothing to do with the woman's murder, Fuji TV reported. Ochai and Hagiwara both worked as cosmetics sales assistants.
Hagiwara went missing from her home in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, on March 25, 2015. She had told her family she was going to Utsunomiya with two women. Ochiai quit her job on March 25 and dropped out of sight, telling acquaintances she was going to take a break from working.
Prosecutors said about 5 million yen had been withdrawn from Hagiwara's bank account by cash card on the day she disappeared. Bank surveillance camera footage showed Hagiwara and another woman at the ATM.
On April 2, 2015, Hagiwara's blood-stained jacket was found inside a car in a parking lot in Chiyoda, Gunma Prefecture. That car belonged to a woman in her 40s who was found dead in the Tone River in Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, in June 2015.


© Japan Today
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