Midday Roundup: Poisoned letters target Obama, senators
Newsworthy | Mickey McLean
Suspicious mailings. A letter addressed to President Barack Obama and received at the White House off-site mailing facility Tuesday contained a “suspicious substance,” which an FBI spokesman said was the poison ricin. According to Decoded Science, “Ricin works by getting inside cells and preventing the cells from making essential proteins. Without these proteins, the cells die—and this can occur throughout the body, leading to death.” The Secret Service is investigating. Meanwhile, three U.S. senators, Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), also received suspicious mail within the last few days. A letter to Wicker received yesterday also contained ricin. A spokesman for Shelby said Capitol Police were investigating a package his office received this morning, while Levin issued a statement revealing that a suspicious letter arrived today at his Saginaw, Mich., office. Levin’s staff turned over the letter to local authorities.
Pressure-cooker bombs. Photos of components from the two bombs used in Monday’s attack in Boston have been released in an intelligence bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies. The images show a mangled pressure cooker, a torn black bag, a circuit board, and a battery connected to wires. According to CBS News, the bombers placed explosives in metal pressure cookers filled with nails and ball bearings, which were then concealed in black, nylon backpacks. The explosions killed three people, all of whom have now been identified: Martin Richard, 8, of Boston; Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass.; and Lu Lingzi, 23, a student at Boston University from Shenyang, China.
Hospital error. The body of a stillborn baby boy was discovered yesterday in bed sheets at a laundry service in Red Wing, Minn. Crothall Laundry Services received the sheets from Regions Hospital in St. Paul, and once notified, officials from the hospital immediately collected the body of the infant, who had a tag on his ankle and was wearing a diaper. “This was a terrible mistake, and we are deeply sorry,” said Chris Boese, chief nursing officer at Regions Hospital. “We have processes in place that should have prevented this but did not. We are working to identify the gap in our system and to make sure this does not happen again.” Hospital officials were working to notify the family of the child and apologize.
DA murderer charged. A woman has been arrested and charged with the murders of Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland; his wife, Cynthia; and prosecutor Mark E. Hasse. Kim Lene Williams, 46, is the wife of Eric Lyle Williams, a justice of the peace who was convicted last year of stealing computer equipment in a case handled by McLelland and Hasse. Since she has been charged with capital murder, she could face the death penalty.
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