Still No Arrests in Ricin Investigation

Still No Arrests in Ricin Investigation

For the second straight day, federal investigators searched a property connected with a well-known Tupelo resident as part of what's become a drawn-out ricin letter investigation.
TUPELO, MS (abc24.com) - For the second straight day, federal investigators searched a property connected with a well-known Tupelo resident as part of what's become a drawn-out ricin letter investigation.

On Wednesday, more than two dozen FBI agents, some dressed in full hazmat gear, shut down a Tupelo street as they searched a martial arts studio where Everett Dutschke used to work.

Dutschke was kicked out after he was arrested on charges he molested a 7-year-old girl. Court records obtained by abc24.com on Wednesday are graphic, detailing the allegations against him.

Dutschke, while not named a suspect in the ricin investigation, has received plenty of focus the past few days. Investigators zeroed in on him after federal prosecutors dropped charges against Kevin Curtis on Tuesday, following his arrest late last week.

On Tuesday, Dutschke told reporters outside his home that he had nothing to hide, and was cooperating with investigators.

"I saw the commotion, it has been like this all day. It is very scary, we never thought this would happen in this area here," said Michael McMillian, who owns an auto body shop near the martial arts studio.

"We have had a lot of customers calling they want to know what is going on," he added. "A lot of stuff has been screwed up in this area."

Investigators could be seen leaving the studio with several large metal drums. The drums were loaded up in SUVs and escorted out of town by a Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper.

"One minute nothing was out here, the next it was like the A-Team just dropped out, and it was like what's going on," said Chauncey Williamson.

Williamson lives near Dutschke on the 300 block of South Canal Street. He was home on Tuesday and watched agents search Dutschke's home.

"I believe it is somebody in Al Qaida or Iraq using their address and using them as a pawn in the scheme in a bigger plan. I don't believe it is him at all," Williamson said.

Reached by phone on Wednesday night, Dutschke's lawyer said her client continued to cooperate with investigators.

Attorney Lori Nail Basham said Dutschke brought his minivan to the martial arts studio within 30 minutes of being asked on Wednesday afternoon. Soon after, investigators in hazmat suits searched the van.

Basham said she hoped to learn more on Thursday morning, and that Dutschke had not been named a suspect.

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