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Nurse admits attempting to kill daughter for insurance money+.

NARA, Japan, July 19 Kyodo

A 43-year-old nurse has admitted attempting to kill her 15-year-old daughter to collect life insurance money, police sources said Wednesday.

The suspect, Yukiko Sakanaka, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of attempting to kill her eldest daughter, a first-year high school student, by giving her tea laced with an asthma drug on two occasions in May while the girl was hospitalized.

"I had her consume the drug, because I wanted her insurance money," Sakanaka was quoted as saying by the sources. She is the beneficiary of life insurance policies on her eldest daughter worth a total of some 30 million yen.

Sakanaka has also claimed that she attempted to kill her daughter because of poverty and that she planned to commit suicide, but investigators discount this motive as they have confirmed she has several million yen in savings, the sources said.

The girl had been hospitalized on three separate occasions since March for heart palpitations and trembling hands -- symptoms resembling the side effects of the asthma drug salbutamol sulfate, investigators said.

They said the woman's other daughter died in March 1997 at age 9 at a hospital in the city of Nara, while her only son died in November that year at age 15 at Tenri Hospital in Tenri, Nara Prefecture.

The son died of an accumulation of fluid in his lungs and brain. The second daughter died of an acute accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Sakanaka received 20 million yen in life insurance money following the son's death and 200,000 yen for the second daughter. Police have begun investigating those two deaths, seizing the two children's medical records and the boy's organs, which hospital officials had kept for research purposes.

Police believe a large portion of the insurance money she received following the deaths of the two children went to her boyfriend, the police sources said.

Sakanaka has worked at Municipal Yamashiro Hospital in Kizu, Kyoto Prefecture, since October 1995.

The elder daughter, whose name police are withholding, was being treated at Tenri Hospital when her mother gave her tea containing salbutamol sulfate, which expands the bronchial air passages, on May 10 and 16, according to police.

The girl suffered a quickened pulse and an accumulation of fluid in the lungs when she drank the tea the first time, and a faster pulse on the second occasion, but doctors at the hospital successfully treated her on both occasions.

After the hospital reported the girl's condition to police, investigators detected salbutamol sulfate in her urine and the leftover tea.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jul 24, 2000
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