Federal prosecutors on Tuesday dropped charges without explanation against the Mississippi man arrested for sending poisoned letters to the president and a U.S. senator. But the case is far from closed.
Dozens of law enforcement officials scoured the home of a second Mississippi man, Everett Dutschke, of Tupelo, Tuesday night, some in hazmat suits. The investigation even went so far as to comb through ditches, culverts, and woods about a block away from Dutschke’s home.
Officials declined to comment on what they found or on the next phase of the investigation.
“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” Dutschke told The Associated Press by telephone during the search. His house was also searched last week. No charges have been filed against him and he hasn’t been arrested.
Dutschke was no stranger to the first suspect, Paul Kevin Curtis, a 45-year-old Elvis impersonator who had maintained his innocence since his arrest. The two feuded in the past and hadn’t been in contact since 2010.
Both men say they have no idea how to make the deadly poison ricin and had nothing to do with sending letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Mississippi county judge Sadie Holland.
In reference to investigators’ questions about the case, Curtis said after he was released from custody Tuesday afternoon, “I thought they said rice and I said, ‘I don’t even eat rice.’ … I respect President Obama. I love my country and would never do anything to pose a threat to him or any other U.S. official."
A one-sentence document filed by federal prosecutors said that though charges against Curtis were dropped, they could be reinstated if authorities found more to prove their case. The document also said the ongoing investigation had revealed new information, but did not elaborate.