Wake Robin Resident Made Toxic Ricin, Fed to Others

70-Year-Old US Woman Made Ricin Tested It On Neighbors FBI

No one had apparently been killed by Betty Miller's activities at the bucolic Wake Robin retirement home

She is due to appear before Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy for a preliminary hearing at 3 this afternoon (Friday) in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

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.

She wanted to harm herself but was testing it first by sprinkling it onto the food and beverages of other residents of the Wake Robin retirement community. The woman told an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent she was hoping to test its effectiveness on the other residents by placing it on food or in beverages she expected them to consume on at least three occasions in the past several weeks. She said she was working on getting a lawyer.

The FBI says no Wake Robin residents reported symptoms consistent with ricin poisoning.

"No one is ill with ricin poisoning, and the danger for those who could have been exposed is over", said Ben Truman, a Health Department spokesman.

The bottle labeled "Ricin" was about half full of a yellowish/white powder, investigators detailed in the court paperwork.

The bottles were labeled "Ricin" and "Castor beans", among other things. Respiratory failure can result from inhalation of ricin.

Ricin can cause trouble breathing, fever, cough, nausea, chest pain, heavy sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations and seizures.

Miller admitted to making between two and three tablespoons of ricin on two occasions in her kitchen.

"Based on research conducted on the Internet using her laptop, computer, and cell phone, Miller harvested 30-40 castor beans from plants growing on the property of Wake Robin", court documents show.

The FBI said Miller was not registered with the government to possess ricin.

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

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