During a court hearing today, FBI investigators said they found no traces of ricin at the home or car of a Mississippi man suspected of sending letters laced with the poison to two public officials and President Obama.
"Agent Brandon Grant said that a search of Paul Kevin Curtis' vehicle and house in Corinth, Miss., on Friday did not turn up ricin or ingredients for the poison. A search of Curtis' computers has found no evidence so far that he researched making ricin.
"'There was no apparent ricin, castor beans or any material there that could be used for the manufacturing, like a blender or something,' Grant testified. He speculated that Curtis could have thrown away the processor. Grant said computer technicians are now doing a 'deep dive' on the suspect's computers after initially finding no 'dirty words' indicating Curtis had searched for information on ricin.
"Through his lawyer, Curtis has denied involvement in letters sent to Obama, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, and a Lee County, Miss., judge. The letters, bearing a Memphis, Tenn., postmark, were detected beginning April 15."
As Mark reported last week, the 45-year-old Curtis is better known as an Elvis impersonator. Curtis is also known for writing about conspiracy theories on the Internet.
The ricin-laced letters were received at a mail-processing facility in Washington during the aftermath of the Boston bombings. It provoked an evacuation of the Capitol.
The AP reports that Curtis' lawyers believe he is being set up by one of his enemies. The FBI still believes they have the right person.
The AP adds:
"Grant testified Friday that authorities tried to track down the sender of the letters by using a list of Wicker's constituents with the initials KC, the same initials in the letters. Grant said the list was whittled from thousands to about 100 when investigators isolated the ones who lived in an area that would have a Memphis, Tenn., postmark, as do some places in north Mississippi. He said Wicker's staff recognized Curtis' name as someone who had written the senator before.
"The letters also contained lines that were on Curtis' Facebook page, including the phrase, 'I am KC and I approve this message,' Grant said.
"Grant also testified that there were indentations on the letters from where someone had written on another envelope that had been on top of them in a stack.
"The indentations were analyzed under a light source and turned out to be for Curtis' former addresses in Booneville and Tupelo, though one of the addresses was spelled wrong, Grant said."