Charges Dropped Against Suspect in Poison Letter Mailings
TUPELO, Miss. (AP) – Charges of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others were dropped Tuesday against an Elvis impersonator from Mississippi who has said since his arrest last week that he had nothing to do with the case.
Meanwhile, in Tupelo, numerous law enforcement officers converged on the home of another Mississippi man, Everett Dutschke, including some in hazmat suits. No charges have been filed against him and he hasn’t been arrested. Both men say they have no idea how to make the poisonous ricin and had nothing to do with sending them to Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and a state judge.
Referring to officials’ questions for him about the case, “I thought they said rice and I said I don’t even eat rice,” 45-year-old Paul Kevin Curtis said after he was released from custody Tuesday afternoon. “I respect President Obama. I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official.”
A one-sentence document filed by federal prosecutors said charges against Curtis were dropped, but left open the possibility they could be re-instated if authorities found more to prove their case.
The dismissal is the latest twist in a case that rattled the country already on edge over the Boston Marathon bombing last week.
Curtis was well-known to Wicker because he had written to the Republican and other officials about black-market body parts he claimed to have found while working at a hospital – a claim the hospital says is untrue. Curtis also wrote a book called “Missing Pieces” about his claims and posted similar language on his Facebook page and elsewhere.
The two men the FBI are investigating are not strangers. Dutschke said the two had a falling out and that the last contact they had was in 2010. Dutschke said he threatened to sue Curtis for saying he was a member of Mensa, a group for people with high IQs.