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Man named in ricin letter case in hiding

26 April 2013, 10:30

Saltillo - A man whose home was searched in the investigation of poisoned letters sent to the president and others has apparently gone into hiding, but his attorney said he is cooperating and the FBI knows how to get in touch with him.

Everett Dutschke, aged 45, had his home and former business searched in connection with the letters, which allegedly contained ricin. They were sent last week to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge named Sadie Holland.

Charges were initially filed against a celebrity impersonator but then dropped. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who has ties to the former suspect and the judge and senator.

On Thursday, investigators looked through a different home about 32km away and a plane circled above for much of the day.

A friend of Dutschke's told The Associated Press that both he and Dutschke stayed at the home for a while on Wednesday before slipping out through the woods to rendezvous with someone who drove Dutschke elsewhere. He said Dutschke was just trying to escape the news media.

Dutschke has not been arrested or charged in the letters case. The FBI has said nothing about the building searches or Thursday's developments.

Dutschke's lawyer, Lori Nail Basham, said there is no arrest warrant for her client, who continues to co-operate with investigators.

Earlier on Thursday, Sheriff Chris Dickinson said agents told him Dutschke had been under surveillance, but authorities weren't sure where he had gone.

It was yet another strange turn in the case that began when charges were filed against 45-year-old entertainer Paul Kevin Curtis, whose lawyers now say he was set up for the crime.

Charges against Curtis were dropped on Tuesday after authorities said they developed new information.

His attorney, Christi McCoy, has said she does not know what new information led the FBI to abandon the charges but that the agency acted in good faith and worked from the information it had at the time.

Dutschke and Curtis were acquainted. Curtis said they had talked about possibly publishing a book on an alleged conspiracy to sell body parts on a black market. But he claimed they later had a feud.

- AP


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