Saturday, March 01, 2008
LAS VEGAS — As police tried to piece together how a rare, fatal poison ended up in a motel for transients, the 57-year-old man who could hold the key lay unconscious in a Las Vegas hospital room.Adding to the mystery, police said that firearms and an “anarchist-type textbook” were found in the same room the ricin was found — two days before vials of the substance were discovered Thursday.
Capt. Joseph Lombardo said at a press conference late Friday that the book was tabbed at a spot with information about ricin. Police found the weapons and books on Tuesday, after a manager at the Extended Stay America motel called police upon finding weapons, he said.
After authorities seized the book and weapons, tests for ricin were conducted but were negative, said Lombardo.
Lombardo said a 53-year-old friend or relative of the sick man made contact with motel management on Feb. 22 to inform them about pets in the room — a dog and two cats.
Earlier Friday, police Deputy Chief Kathy Suey said that the friend or relative found the vials after going to the motel to retrieve the hospitalized man’s belongings, and brought them to the apartment manager. Authorities confirmed Friday the vials contained ricin.
It was unclear how long the vials were in the unoccupied motel room, and whether they might have been overlooked when ricin tests were conducted on Tuesday.
Lombardo did not address such questions during the brief news conference.
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