Police: Retiree made ricin, tested it on neighbors - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Police: Retiree made ricin, tested it on neighbors

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A retirement community resident made ricin and tested the deadly toxin on her neighbors by putting it on their food or in beverages over a period of weeks, investigators said.

Betty Miller told an FBI agent that she wanted to “injure herself” and was testing the poison’s effectiveness on other residents at the Wake Robin senior living facility, according to a criminal complaint.

A handcuffed Miller, 70, made her first appearance in federal court Friday. Judge John Conroy noted that Miller had a “lengthy mental health history,” but did not elaborate.

Miller was placed in custody and was scheduled to be in court again on Wednesday. She said she was working on getting a lawyer.

Police were called to the senior community in Shelburne on Tuesday after Miller told heath care providers she had manufactured the ricin and placed it on other residents’ food and beverages, the agent said in the complaint.

The Health Department said Friday that it became aware of one person who likely became ill with ricin poisoning but said no one is currently ill with ricin poisoning.

Miller said she harvested 30 to 40 castor beans from plants growing on Wake Robin’s property and made 2 to 3 tablespoons of ricin twice in her kitchen, the complaint said. She exposed other residents to the ricin on at least three occasions, the complaint said.

Investigators found a pill bottle half full with powder labeled as ricin in a basket in a kitchen cabinet of Miller’s apartment a midst other pill bottles labeled “apple seed,” ″cherry seed” and “yew seed,” the complaint said.

The powder tested positive for ricin. Investigators also found instructions for making ricin that apparently were from the internet, the affidavit said.

If inhaled, ricin causes difficulty breathing and other symptoms. If ingested, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations and seizures. Initial symptoms of ricin poisoning are most likely to occur within four to 10 hours of exposure.

Wake Robin said in a statement Friday that one apartment was closed off and that the resident living there will not return.

“We have received assurances from the Vermont Department of Health and the FBI that no one’s health is at risk,” it said.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    Saturday, February 17 2018 5:23 PM EST2018-02-17 22:23:29 GMT

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>
  • Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:10 AM EST2018-02-18 16:10:32 GMT

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>
  • Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Saturday, February 17 2018 10:46 PM EST2018-02-18 03:46:19 GMT

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • 2 men sentenced to prison for cutting tree in national park

    2 men sentenced to prison for cutting tree in national park

    Sunday, February 18 2018 2:16 PM EST2018-02-18 19:16:23 GMT

    OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - Two men are going to prison and must pay about $17,500 in restitution after pleading guilty to cutting down a tree in Olympic National Park.    The Olympian reports Michael Welches and Matthew Hutto entered the park at night wearing headlamps in 2013 and cut down a big leaf maple tree.

    >>

    OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. (AP) - Two men are going to prison and must pay about $17,500 in restitution after pleading guilty to cutting down a tree in Olympic National Park.    The Olympian reports Michael Welches and Matthew Hutto entered the park at night wearing headlamps in 2013 and cut down a big leaf maple tree.

    >>
  • Missouri youth baseball team moves forward with AR-15 raffle

    Missouri youth baseball team moves forward with AR-15 raffle

    Sunday, February 18 2018 2:07 PM EST2018-02-18 19:07:44 GMT

    NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle despite criticism it received after a similar gun was used to kill 17 in a Florida high school.    Coach Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star the fundraiser for the third-grade team in Neosho, Missouri, had been planned before last week's shooting in Parkland, Florida.

    >>

    NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle despite criticism it received after a similar gun was used to kill 17 in a Florida high school.    Coach Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star the fundraiser for the third-grade team in Neosho, Missouri, had been planned before last week's shooting in Parkland, Florida.

    >>
  • Iran says 65 killed in airplane crash

    Iran says 65 killed in airplane crash

    Sunday, February 18 2018 1:55 PM EST2018-02-18 18:55:55 GMT

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's state-run IRNA news agency is saying that the death toll in a commercial airplane crash is 65.    IRNA reported Sunday night that one passenger did not make the flight.    That puts the toll at 65, with 59 passengers and six crew members killed. Authorities initially said the crash killed 66.

    >>

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's state-run IRNA news agency is saying that the death toll in a commercial airplane crash is 65.    IRNA reported Sunday night that one passenger did not make the flight.    That puts the toll at 65, with 59 passengers and six crew members killed. Authorities initially said the crash killed 66.

    >>