Prosecutors in Osaka have indicted a 37-year-old man on suspicion of killing a 21-year-old woman in Kyoto last October by poisoning her with thallium.
According to the indictment, Kazuki Miyamoto, a real estate agent, who was arrested on March 3, poisoned university student Hinako Hamano by getting her to ingest a lethal amount of thallium, a highly toxic substance that was once widely used as rat poison.
Miyamoto initially told police that on Oct 11, he and Hamano had dined out before going to Hamano's apartment for a drink. He said she started coughing repeatedly and that he gave her some cough medicine which he had bought at a pharmacy.
Miyamoto contacted the woman's family, who took her to a hospital in Osaka Prefecture the next day. However, her condition worsened, and she died on Oct 15. An autopsy revealed her cause of death was acute respiratory distress syndrome, which prevents the lungs from providing vital organs with sufficient oxygen, due to thallium poisoning.
Traces of the toxic substance were found in her vomit and urine. Based on security camera footage obtained during their investigation and the opinions of toxicologists, police determined that Miyamoto got the woman to ingest the substance while they were at her apartment.
Since his arrest, Miyamoto has refused to speak and investigators have not yet determined how he obtained thallium which is a legally restricted substance, nor what motive he might have had for killing Hamano. However, investigators said an examination of Miyamoto’s smartphone showed that on Oct 11, he searched for sites on symptoms of thallium poisoning.© Japan Today/KYODO