A 70-year-old senior living community resident has been arrested after officials from the FBI alleged the woman manufactured a biological weapon and then tested it on fellow residents.
Betty Miller, who was a resident of Wake Robin retirement home in Shelburne, Vermont, is alleged to have printed directions from the internet on how to create plant-based poisons. Using common plants found on the property of the retirement community, Miller was able to make ricin powder in her own kitchen. Miller then tested the ricin several times on other residents by placing the substance into their food and beverages.
The Health Commissioner says that one of the residents showed symptoms of ricin poisoning last week but was able to recover. Investigators say they were tipped off to Miller’s activities when she drove herself to a local emergency room and had herself checked out after being exposed to the powder, WCAX reports.
Hazmat teams swarmed the upscale community in order to decontaminate the property. A medicine bottle half filled with the powder was located inside of a wicker basket found in Miller’s home, along with the detailed instructions for making the powder that she printed out.
When Miller was questioned by the FBI she told them that she intended to use the powder in order to cause harm to herself, but first wanted to test the potency of the powder. Investigators say that Miller spent extensive time carefully crafting the crime and fear that she may threaten witnesses connected to the case. She remains in the custody of U.S. Marshals.
Miller has been charged with violating U.S. laws that prohibit the possession and manufacture of biological weapons, the Newburgh Gazette reports.
Wake Robin has since issued a statement assuring residents that Miller’s apartment will be quarantined indefinitely and will not be available to future residents. They also told the community, “We have received assurances from the Vermont Department of Health and the FBI that no one’s health is at risk.”