Ricin Target Keeping Close Watch on FBI Search

Ricin Target Keeping Close Watch on FBI Search

The son of the Lee County Judge who received a ricin-laced letter says he has no idea who would want to try and kill his mom. The FBI continues to investigate that letter, and two more that were sent to President Obama and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.
TUPELO, MS (abc24.com) - The son of the Lee County Judge who received a ricin-laced letter says he has no idea who would want to try and kill his mom. The FBI continues to investigate that letter, and two more that were sent to President Obama and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.

"She is the most beloved woman, probably in this county," said Steve Holland, son of Judge Sadie Holland.

Judge Holland, 80, who opens all of her mail herself, opened the ricin-laced letter a few weeks ago.

"It sort of gave me cold chills when she told me. I said, 'Mom what did you do?' And she said 'Well of course I opened the letter, read it, I wasn't too moved by it, then I saw the powdery substance, and I sniffed it a little bit, saw it wasn't right, and called the sheriff,'" said Holland.

Judge Holland is the only one of the three targeted to come in direct contact with the ricin.

After two days of high-profile searches in town, Thursday was a relatively calm day in Tupelo. FBI agents did search a home about 20 miles to the east of Tupelo looking for Everett Dutschke. Dutschke, at least publicly, remains the focus of the investigation after federal prosecutors dropped charges against Kevin Curtis following his arrest last week.

Judge Holland has a connection with both men. In 2004, Curtis appeared before her as part of an assault case.

Steve Holland says Dutschke once ran against him in a state representative race.

"I didn't think much of him then, he got 18 percent of the vote," Holland said with a laugh. "Just another opponent."

Holland said about a year later, Dutschke gave a bizarre speech at a rally, trashing Holland's family.

Holland says he doesn't know if that is motive enough for any of this, as he continues to be confused about who would want to hurt his mom.

"Mamma could sentence somebody to murder and hanging on the courthouse lawn and they'd say thank you Miss Sadie, thank you so much. She is that kind of person," Holland said.

Lori Nail Basham, Dutschke's lawyer, said via text on Thursday evening that Dutschke was never missing and the FBI has been updated on his exact whereabouts. She added her client continues to cooperate with investigators.

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