The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 24, 2013

2nd Miss. man investigated in ricin case

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Law enforcement officials searched the home of a second Mississippi man in connection to ricin-laced letters sent to the president and a U.S. senator after charges were dropped without explanation against a man arrested in the case last week.

Everett Dutschke, whose Tupelo, Miss., home was searched Tuesday by dozens of officials, some in hazmat suits, had feuded with Paul Kevin Curtis, a 45-year-old celebrity impersonator who had maintained his innocence since his arrest.

The search began early Tuesday afternoon and ended about 11 p.m. CDT, with officials declining to comment on what they had found or on the next phase of the investigation.

At one point, two FBI agents and two members of the state's chemical response team left Dutschke's property and began combing through ditches, culverts and woods about a block away from his house in the neighborhood of single-family detached homes.

Dutschke (DUHST'-kee), who spoke with The Associated Press by telephone during the search, said his house was also searched last week.

"I don't know how much more of this I can take," he said.

No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn't been arrested. Both he and Curtis, who had faced charges in the case, say they have no idea how to make the poisonous ricin and had nothing to do with sending the letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Mississippi county judge Sadie Holland.

Referring to investigators' questions for him 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."

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