Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Resident Arrested In Ricin Incident At Shelburne Retirement Community

Resident Arrested In Ricin Incident At Shelburne Retirement Community

A resident of a Vermont retirement community broke bad and tested out her ricin recipe by putting the deadly toxin in her neighbors' food and drinks over the course of several weeks, according to investigators.

The agent said Miller "indicated her goal was to injure herself", but that she first wanted to test the ricin on others.

Betty Miller told Federal Bureau of Investigation agents she wanted to "injure herself" and that she was testing the potency of her homemade poison on other residents at the Wake Robin senior living facility, according to a criminal complaint.

Betty Miller, who lives in Wake Robin retirement community in Shelburne, was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Thursday on suspicion that she was stockpiling the highly toxic substance which is produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant.

Authorities were called to the senior facility on Tuesday after Miller told healthcare providers had made the ricin and placed it in other residents' food and beverages, according to the complaint.

State health officials say no one is now ill with ricin poisoning, but that their investigation has revealed one Wake Robin resident reported becoming ill recently.

She then drove herself to UVM medical center for evaluation and observation.

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The FBI is charging Miller with "knowing possession of an unregistered biological agent, where such an agent is a select agent".

She is set to appear in court on Friday, Dec. 1. The deadly ricin was found Tuesday afternoon in her apartment, LOCAL 22 & LOCAL 44 reported.

The FBI determined that there was probable cause to to support a criminal complaint and issue and arrest warrant. During the interview, authorities said Miller stated she "had an interest in plant-based poison and had conducted internet research on how to make them".

Investigators found a pill bottle half filled with powder labeled as ricin in a basket in the kitchen cabinet of Miller's apartment, along with other pill bottles labeled as "apple seed", "cherry seed" and "yew seed", the complaint said.

No other residents had reported symptoms consistent with Ricin poisoning at the time.

The Vermont Health Department said it was aware of one person who likely became ill with ricin poisoning found in the retirement community. 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. In a written statement released Friday by its public relations firm, Wake Robin's President and Chief Executive Patrick McKee, described the chain of events and said state and federal investigators have now left the campus. This was someone other than Miller who also is a Wake Robin resident but who is recovering from apparent mild exposure. Ingestion of the poison causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea and hallucinations, according to health officials.

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