Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Woman Arrested After Testing Toxic Substance on Senior Home Residents

FBI makes arrest in Wake Robin ricin investigation Wake Robin resident tried to poison others
Dexter Carr | 03 December, 2017, 01:01

Vermont State Police say they and the FBI are investigating possible exposure to the deadly toxin ricin at a retirement housing community in the town of Shelburne.

Miller said she ultimately wanted to use the ricin for self-harm and made a decision to test the effectiveness of the poison on her fellow residents on three separate occasions.

Betty Miller told an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent she wanted to "injure herself" and was testing the effectiveness of the poison on other residents at the Wake Robin senior living facility, according to a criminal complaint. Based on research conducted on the internet using her laptop computer and cell phone, Miller harvested 30-40 castor beans from plants growing on the property of Wake Robin. According to Fox News, she told health care officials that she had manufactured about 2-3 tablespoons of the powder and had added it to food and beverages in the home.

She then drove herself to UVM medical center for evaluation and observation. She could be charged with unregistered possession of ricin and if convicted could face up to five years in prison, according to federal law enforcement authorities.

Betty Miller, 70, allegedly told investigators she made ricin with the intention of hurting herself. The U.S. Attorney says Miller carefully planned her crime and she is now pushing to keep Miller locked up while the investigation continues.

The next hearing date was set for 11 a.m. on December 6 to determine probable cause for the charge against Miller and to review whether she will remain in custody while she awaits a trial. During that time, no other residents reported symptoms consistent with ricin poisoning.

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The department has confirmed that one resident was being treated at a hospital but says no one is ill with ricin poisoning. She exposed other residents to the ricin on at least three occasions, the complaint said. We have been following up with that person.No one - including the individual mentioned above - is now ill with Ricin poisoning, and the danger for those who could have been exposed is over.

Patrick McKee, President & CEO of Wake Robin, issued this statement Friday: "Earlier this week Wake Robin was made aware of a potentially toxic substance in a resident's apartment".

According to the affidavit, investigators found a wicker basket filled with pill bottles in the kitchen cupboard, with two bottles labeled "Ricin" and "Castor beans". This was someone other than Miller who also is a Wake Robin resident but who is recovering from apparent mild exposure. When ingested symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations and seizures and can be fatal.

Ricin is a poison derived from castor beans, which are used to make castor oil.

A sign marks the entrance to the Wake Robin retirement community, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in Shelburne, Vt.

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