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The plot thickens: 'Selfie-taking' woman who fell to her death had a husband who fell to his death

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A woman who reportedly died taking a selfie in Taoyuan may have been conspiring with her family to cash in on her insurance policies, according to a probe.

This April 24, a 44-year-old woman surnamed Yeh fell off Provincial Highway No. 7 at the 7.5-kilometer mark, tumbling off a steep slope to her death.

Following a monthslong investigation by the Criminal Investigation Bureau, prosecutors said the woman was suspected of killing herself so that her family could benefit from her insurance policies.

In the half year before Yeh's deadly fall, she had purchased multiple accident insurance policies, with which her husband, son and aunt claimed NT$34 million after her death.

Wang Yi-wen (王以文) from the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office said Thursday that Yeh had made several loss-making stock investments and had been suspected of embezzlement by a former employer.

She had borrowed money at a high interest from underground lenders and at the end of her life owed them tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars, according to the probe.

At the time of her death, her legal husband and insurance beneficiary was a man surnamed Chen, whom she had married less than a year ago.

Investigators said Chen had helped Yeh make arrangements after her previous husband's death and then later helped her devise a plan to obtain the insurance payout, marrying her as part of the plan.

On April 23, Yeh fell off a steep slope in Taoyuan's Daxi with Chen and her 21-year-old son nearby, after snapping a selfie to create the impression that that they were on a family outing, investigators said.

Investigators said they had evidence that Chen's sister tried to falsify records to indicate that Yeh had an income and no motive for suicide.

Taoyuan prosecutors are investigating Chen, his sister and Yeh's son for involvement in falsifying documents, assisting a suicide and fraud.

Detained

Her son and Chen have been detained and held incommunicado while Chen's sister has been released on bail of NT$1.5 million.

Police have searched their residence, confiscating their phones, tables and other items as evidence.

Chen has denied all allegations of fraud, while his sister and Yeh's son have pleaded ignorance.

A Suspicious Coincidence

On Thursday, Taoyuan police said they were considering reopening the case of Yeh's previous husband, also surnamed Chen, who had drowned the year before.

Taoyuan Police Department Pingzhen Precinct said Chen had been found on Aug. 9, 2016 in the Shimen Canal without a heartbeat. After his death, Yeh had collected over NT$10 million in insurance.

No evidence of foul play had been found last year, but the circumstances surrounding Yeh's death and her previous husband's death were suspiciously similar, police said.

At the time, Yeh had told them that her 53-year-old husband had left the house while intoxicated and had accidentally fallen into the canal.

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