Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Widow Noh: South Korean Black Widow Serial Killer - 2015

A woman named Noh, living in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi, South Korea is suspected of poisoning five persons over a period of several years, killing three of them. Her daughter and mother-in-law Kim survived but two husbands and mother-in-law Lee met their death. Although Noh’s daughter survived three separate poisoning incidents, the mother still received insurance profits (USD $6,300) from the child’s illnesses. She was arrested for questioning on March 4 [?], 2015 for questioning. Noh received “huge” sums from life insurance payouts after each death.

Noh is suspected of poisoning ex-husband Kim “by putting a beverage in the refrigerator that had been spiked with a poisonous herbicide Gramoxone, which was used so frequently for suicides that it was taken off the market in 2012.” At the time, Kim’s death was, unsurprisingly, ruled a suicide. The widow was holding three insurance policies on the life of her beloved spouse. From these policies Noh raked in $410,000.

Noh married Lee in March 2012. He and died soon after and his mother died in January 2013. Both deaths had been attributed to pneumonia.

Noh’s insurance “earnings” gave her a comfortable lifestyle. She bought gold bullion, an $18,000 bicycle and went on skiing trips.

Police report that are looking into other possible crimes and for possible accomplices.

[Robert St. Estephe; based on information from Kim Bong-Moon, “Woman held for killing husbands, mother-in-law,” Korea JoongAng Daily, Mar. 4, 2015]



4 victims: 3 deaths; 1 injury

Dec. 1991 - Noh marries Mr. Kim (45).

May 9, 2011 - ex-husband Mr. Kim dies;  herbicide Gramoxone (Paraquat). [Crime #1]

2011 - shortly after May 9 - mother-in-law Chae Moo-gae (91) dies; natural death.

2012 - Noh marries Mr. Lee, 43. Lee's mother, Mr. Hong, 79, was vehemently opposed to her bachelor's son marrying a divorced woman with two children.

2012 - Mr. Hong (79) dies. Poisoned. Mother of Lee (husband #2). Autopsy discovered poison.

Mid-August 2013 - Lee (husband #2) dies. Kimchi poisoned staring in April.

Summer 2014 - Noh’s daughter (20) poisoned, survives [Crime #5]. pesticide-mixed wheat flour added to food. Her daughter collapsed three times with abdominal pain and went to the hospital. Noh received 7 million won for his daughter's hospitalization insurance.

Feb. 28, 2015 - Noh arrested. At 7 am on February 28, 2015, the police arrested Mr. Noh on charges of murder, personal injury, and insurance fraud.

Aug. 20, 2015 - Noh convicted, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and was required to wear an electronic bracelet.

Jan. 15, 2016 -- In her appeal trial, she was resentenced to life imprisonment.


= Noh

FULL TEXT (translated from Korean): Murdered two husbands and mother-in-law, daughter tried... Legal dispute over inheritance of deceased husband's property.

Mrs. Noh (46), who lives in Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do, was an ordinary housewife. In December 1991, she married Mr. Kim (45), a businessman, and had one son and one daughter. At one time, as her husband's business boomed, her husband lived a prosperous life, listening to his 'wife'.

But that was only for a while. As her husband's business went downhill, the relationship between  husband and wife began to crack. Mrs. Noh was always dissatisfied with her husband's poor income. Unable to satisfy his luxuries and vanity, he was under a lot of stress. Her husband's business showed no signs of improving. Eventually, his estate was in danger of foreclosure due to debt.

Her husband, Kim, decided to 'fake a divorce' to protect his property. The real estate in Sinbuk-myeon, Pocheon was transferred to Mrs. Noh in the name of alimony. After that, her real estate was disposed of, and 350 million Won of this was to be given to her mother-in-law Chae Moo-gae (91). Mr. Noh agreed to this, but he did not keep his promise after the sale was made.

Her ex-husband, Kim, insisted, “Give me the money,” but Noh had from the beginning no intention of giving it. Mrs. Noh even forged documents in order to steal money owed to his mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law had forged her Fact Sheet as a gift to her daughter and her son between herself and her ex. Kim continued to ask for money, saying, “This is a fake.”

In the end, Noh planned to murder her husband and mother-in-law. On May 2, 2011, Noh went to visit her ex-husband (Kim). She said, “I bought you something to drink,” and he kept his drink (aloe) in the refrigerator. This was not an ordinary drink. Mrs. Noh mixed the herbicide Gramoxone (Paraquat), a highly toxic pesticide. [Meaning?: She was so dense that she picked up a drink of the same color to disguise himself.]

~ Pesticides added to drinks and food ~

After a while, her mother-in-law, Chae, inadvertently took out a drink from the refrigerator and put some of it in her mouth. It had a disgusting taste, so she didn't swallow but instead spit it out, avoiding anger. However, her ex-husband, Mr. Kim, could not escape Mrs. Noh's trap. At dawn on May 9, Mr. Kim was thirsty from the alcohol he had drank the day before. He opened the refrigerator, saw there was a drink, and drank it. He soon developed abdominal pain and was taken to the hospital, where he eventually died. His cause of death was pneumonia.

The police launched an investigation. A 500mL beverage containing pesticides was found in the room at the time. Family members stated that Kim was “stressed due to sluggish business”. In fact, Mr. Kim used 70 million Won in loans to fund his business, but he was struggling because he could not repay the debt. The police closed the case as pessimistic about the new recruit and committed suicide when there were no suspicions of murder.

On behalf of her underage son (17), Noh received 450 million Won from nine life insurance policies held on Kim. Insurers did not have any suspicions because the policies had been held for a long time. Her mother-in-law, Chae, also died shortly thereafter, and Noh was able to take over the proceeds of her husband's real estate sale. Mrs. Noh's first murder succeeded so easily.

Her murders did not stop there. A year after the murder of her first husband, she married to Mr. Lee, 43, whom he met through an acquaintance. The marriage process was not smooth. Lee's mother, Mrs. Hong, 79, was vehemently opposed to her bachelor's son marrying a divorced woman with two children. But when Noh became pregnant, she could no longer prevent the marriage. In March 2012, the two registered their marriage and became an official couple. At the end of November of the same year, the Noh and his wife moved to live with Hong. Mr. Noh had a grudge against his mother-in-law who opposed her marriage. She thought she was being ignored and she had this in her mind.

About a month later, Mr. Noh handed the Bacchus [poisoned drink?] saying, "Mother, this is good for your body, so please eat it." Hong, who drank what her daughter-in-law gave her, complained of abdominal pain, but Noh did not immediately contact the hospital. In the end, Hong died of acute pneumonia. The herbicide Gramoxone was mixed in the Bacchus that Mrs. Noh gave him. Lee's family accepted it as a natural death because of his age. Mr. Noh also succeeded in her second murder.

It is said that crime learns and evolves on its own. Murder that starts once is so addictive that it tends to happen twice or three times. When Mr. Noh aroused no suspicions until her second murder, she became even more confident. He devised a meticulous plan to murder even her then-current husband.

This time, she mixed Gramoxone with flour, kneaded it, dried it, and ground it into a powder. In April 2013, Mr. Noh added pesticide flour as a seasoning while making kimchi stew. Gramoxone is characterized by a musty smell like rotting fish and a dark green color. Noh chose kimchi as a food that could hide the smell and color.

She made her husband die slowly to avoid suspicion. Gramoxone is toxic enough to burn the esophagus if consumed at once. If you eat a small amount several times, your organs will be damaged little by little. Mr. Noh cumulatively poisoned made her husband with Gramoxone by not adding a large amount at once, but by mixing it in small portions several times.

In mid-August 2013, about seven months after the death of her mother-in-law, her husband Lee passed away. His cause of death was pneumonia. On behalf of her one-year-old son, Noh received 530 million Won in death insurance on his behalf. It was Mr. Noh's fourth crime, and it was her third murder. Lee had been adjudged as dead from a chronic disease in the course of being treated at the hospital, therefore the investigation agency was not notified at all.

Her fifth victim was her own daughter (20). In the summer of 2014, Noh added pesticide-mixed wheat flour to food and then fed her daughter. Her daughter collapsed three times with abdominal pain and went to the hospital. Noh received 7 million won for his daughter's hospitalization insurance.

She killed her two husbands and mother-in-law and injured her daughter, resulting in over $1 billion in money.

But if the tail is long, it is bound to be caught. There were people who had doubts about the successive deaths of family members. She was the sister of her second husband, Mr. Lee. Noh was suspicious of Olke, who spends her money without any sign of mourning over the death of her husband. When she thought about it, the details of her brother's death were murky and did not make sense. She was concerned about the sudden death of her brother, who was still in good health, and about the same 'pneumonia' as her mother. She was even told that she had been hospitalized and that she was suspected of poisoning with pesticides. At that time, Mr. Lee did not farm by himself, and there was no reason to commit suicide by drinking pesticides on his own with his young son.

His sister Lee went to her insurance company to see if she had received the insurance money, and it turned out that she was visited by Olke. An insurance company employee who consulted with his sister Lee was also suspicious of the news that his family died one after another. She carefully looked at the insurance products that Noh had signed up for and the details of insurance payments. Two of her husbands died in just two years, and it was not unusual for her to receive a large amount of insurance money. Olke reported to the police that he suspected a crime aimed at insurance money. The police also reviewed the relevant documents and started an internal investigation.

~ Pesticides found in buried mother-in-law's body ~

The police secured and analyzed the medical records of the deceased's ex-husband, second husband, and mother-in-law. The suspicion of the police deepened that the cause of death was 'pneumonia'. The police went to Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine Professor Hong Se-yong, an authority in the field of poison poisoning treatment, with medical records and death certificates. He made the observation that "there is a high probability that he died from the component of gramoxone." Professor Hong advised, “An autopsy of the body will detect pesticides.”

However, of the three deceased, two husbands had already been cremated, and only the mother-in-law, Hong, was buried. The police went to the bereaved family, talked about the situation, and obtained consent for an autopsy. Now, an autopsy on Hong's body can determine whether she was poisoned. Police mobilized tomb specialists to remove Hong's body from the coffin, and the National Forensic Service conducted an autopsy on it. The result was exactly what Professor Hong said. Gramoxone was detected in Mother-in-law Hong's body, and it was confirmed that he had been poisoned.

At 7 am on February 28, 2015, the police arrested Mr. Noh on charges of murder, personal injury, and insurance fraud. They seized and searched his house, found Gramoxson on the refrigerator, and also found pesticide-infused wheat flour behind a shelf. When evidence came out of the house, Mr. Noh confessed all the crimes as if she had resigned. She also said, "I'm rather fortunate to be able to stop the crime after being caught."

The terrible 'Pesticide Serial Murders' that almost would have turned into a perfect crime were revealed to the world in the following manner: The motive for the crime was 'money'. Prosecutors demanded the death penalty for Noh, who was handed over to trial, but the first and second trial courts sentenced him to life imprisonment and ordered him to attach an electronic anklet for 10 years. Her daughter, whom Noh was trying to kill, even filed a petition with her court, saying, "I forgive her mother." As Noh abandoned the appeal, life imprisonment was confirmed.

The legal judgment against Mr. Noh is over, but this is not the end. Her two-year-old son from her remarried husband was placed in a child care facility after Noh was stripped of parental authority. A legal battle ensued over the inheritance of her deceased husband's estate. Noh could not give up her greed for money and appointed her ex-husband's 20-something son as the heir custodian of her young son. In response to this, the bereaved family claimed that "Her ex-husband's son and her remarried husband's son are both children of the murderer, so please do not let them live together." 

[Jeong Rak- in, “ A housewife who poisoned three family members because she was blinded by greed for insurance money” ([한국의 연쇄살인범 그후] 보험금에 눈멀어 가족 3 독살한 주부), Sisa Journal, Jan. 23, 2020 ]


Wikipedia: The Pocheon Poisonings were a series of murders committed in Pocheon, South Korea between 2011 and 2014. An unidentified woman, known only as Noh, killed three family members using herbicides and left one in critical condition. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for her crimes.

In 2011, Noh's ex-husband was poisoned with a lethal amount of herbicide. It was initially deemed a suicide, with an eyewitness statement claiming that he killed himself after drinking a poisoned glass of water. Three years later, both the mother-in-law and husband, who suffered from lung diseases, died.

Herbicides had been added to a fatigue-relieving drink for the mother-in-law, while the husband died after being slowly poisoned over a long period of time. Then, in February 2015, Noh was arrested. Even more shockingly, she tried to also poison her daughter, who suffered from lung fibrosis.

Noh, who killed her relatives for money, was indicted by the court in 2015, with the prosecutors asking that she be given the maximum penalty available. At her first trial, she was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and was required to wear an electronic bracelet. In her appeal trial, she was resentenced to life imprisonment.










For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

[1913-4/13/22; 2992-6/16/22]