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Warrant sought for elderly woman in poisoning case

A local court will decide Monday whether to issue an arrest warrant for an elderly woman involved in a poisoning case that killed two and left three neighbors in critical condition, officials said Sunday.

The Daegu District Court said it was reviewing the police’s request for an arrest warrant for the 82-year-old woman suspected of poisoning her six neighbors with a soft drink containing pesticide Tuesday during a community meeting at a small village in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province.


The suspect has flatly denied the police’s accusation, repeating that she does not know about the case.

The suspect, only identified by her surname Park, was at the scene, but didn’t call the police when she saw her neighbors collapsing after sipping the toxic drink, according to investigators. The North Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency probing the case on Friday afternoon detained her and charged her with murder.

The six seniors lost consciousness while foaming at the mouth and were immediately taken to hospital for treatment after sharing the soft drink which was later found to contain insecticide. Two died and four others fell into critical condition. One woman later regained consciousness.

Park became a key suspect after investigators found a capless bottle of a health drink containing insecticide, the same substance used in the poisoned soda, at her residence on Friday.

Police also found other bottles of the same drink inside her residence that had the same expiry date as the health drink containing the toxic substance.

The 1.5-liter soda bottle shared by the neighbors had a cap from the health drink on it, raising suspicions that Park had put the insecticide in the soda bottle but mistakenly changed the lid.

Adding to suspicions, Park was the only one who didn’t drink the contaminated soda at the time, according to the police. When her neighbor offered her the soda, Park refused, saying that she was already full.

Police secured other evidence through the National Forensic Service that detected the pesticide in the suspect’s clothes and the handlebars of her electronic scooter.

The suspect, meanwhile, reiterated that she was being framed by someone else who put the contaminated bottle near her house.

A motive for the suspected murder has not yet been made known, but the police said she might have had a grudge against one of the victims.

Investigators have tried to give Park a lie detector test. But the suspect refused, asserting her innocence, they added. 

By Ock Hyun-ju (