Retiree, 70, made ricin, tested it on neighbors, feds say

An FBI team of weapons of mass destruction experts searched the 70-year-old woman's apartment in the bucolic northeastern US state of Vermont. They found ricin and components of other plants that can be used to make poison

Retiree, 70, made ricin, tested it on neighbors, feds say

A 70-year-old Vermont woman has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after concocting the deadly poison ricin and testing it on residents at the retirement community where she lived.

The court documents state the day before, Miller told health care providers she had tried to poison other residents at Wake Robin and that she drove to the University of Vermont Medical Center for evaluation and observation.

She is set to appear in court on Friday, Dec. 1.

Judge John Conroy ordered her to remain in custody until pretrial detention and probable cause hearings next Wednesday citing her "very lengthy mental health history".

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

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation that no one's health is at risk", it said.

The FBI said she had made between two to three tablespoons of ricin on two separate occasions in her kitchen.

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. This powder was tested in the HHA (Hand Held Analysis) and RAMP, with a positive result on the HHA for Ricin. On at least three occasions she exposed other residents to ricin to test it, the documents say. Ingestion of the poison causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea and hallucinations, according to health officials. Initial symptoms of ricin poisoning are most likely to occur within four to 10 hours of exposure.

"The safety and security of Wake Robin residents and staff are ALWAYS our highest priority", Patrick McKee said in a statement. A Wake Robin spokeswoman said residents were safe.

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.

Ricin is found naturally in castor beans that can be treated to form a powder that can be inhaled or ingested.

"This was an isolated incident".

First responders were called to the senior living facility in the town of Shelburne on Tuesday for possible ricin exposure. Ricin is a highly toxic substance that only takes a few grains the size of table salt to kill a human. "It's a crime scene now", Truman said.

A message was left seeking comment from Wake Robin.

According to a search warrant, investigators were allowed to seize materials and equipment involved in the ricin production, including computers and/or storage media.

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