Vermont woman held for 'testing ricin on fellow care home residents'

  • Vermont woman held for 'testing ricin on fellow care home residents'

Vermont woman held for 'testing ricin on fellow care home residents'

"The resident of the apartment in question is now involved with the criminal justice system and will not be returning to Wake Robin".

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI announced the arrest of Betty Miller on a federal criminal complaint charging her with unregistered possession of a hazardous substance, ricin.

Miller, 70, made her first appearance in federal court on Friday.

First responders were called to the senior living facility in the town of Shelburne on Tuesday for possible ricin exposure. This powder was tested in the HHA (Hand Held Analysis) and RAMP, with a positive result on the HHA for Ricin.

In an affidavit Friday, officials said Miller told them she wanted to harm herself and was testing the toxic poison by sprinkling it on the food and drinks of other Wake Robin residents.

Miller drove herself to UVM Medical Center on Monday for evaluation and observation, court documents show. On November 27, 2017, based on concems for public health, Vermont Police transferred Miller's vehicle to the VSP impound lot in Williston.

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

Investigators also found a laptop computer and a sheet of instructions for making ricin that appeared to have been printed from the internet.

In the written request to keep Miller in custody, Cowles wrote that "it appears even the most stringent of release conditions would not ensure Ms. Miller does not prepare further risky substances and/or attempt to harm those around her. Ms. Miller indicated in her interview with law enforcement both an intent to harm herself and a willingness to hurt others in the process of doing so".

FBI investigators say she used instructions printed from the Internet to make ricin, an extremely toxic poison, out of castor beans picked from a garden at Wake Robin. The deadly ricin was found Tuesday afternoon in her apartment, LOCAL 22 & LOCAL 44 reported. 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".

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

Symptoms of ricin exposure vary depending on whether it is inhaled or ingested.

"I was shocked and horrified that such a bad thing to happen to vulnerable people", said Chris Falk, who lives in Charlotte and spends time in Shelburne. When asked about the pet, Wake Robin spokeswoman Charlotte Lyman said she was unable to comment. "I would assume there'd be protocols in place to prevent things like this from happening".

Truman said department officials continue to work closely with Wake Robin administrators to ensure the health and safety of residents.

"This was an isolated incident".