Bruce E. Ivins, 2001 Anthrax Suspect Commits Suicide as FBI & Justice Department about to File Charges
The anthrax incident took place in 2001 when the anthrax mailing scare gripped the United States following the attacks of September 11. The hysteria and scare that the anthrax letters caused paralyzed an already frightened post 9–11 America. People were literally afraid to open mail and any white powder became a potential bio-terrorism incident.
The focus by the Feds became Steven Hatfill until he was finally exonerated in the anthrax attacks of 2001 with a $5.82 million settlement. After nearly seven years, according to the LA Times, the Justice department was about to charge Bruce Ivans; however, they were too late. Ivans committed suicide from a drug overdose.
The scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who worked for the past 18 years at the government’s biodefense labs at Fort Detrick, Md., had been told about the impending prosecution, the Los Angeles Times reported for Friday editions. The laboratory has been at the center of the FBI’s investigation of the anthrax attacks, which killed five people.
Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland. The Times, quoting an unidentified colleague, said the scientist had taken a massive dose of a prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine.
Tom Ivins, a brother of the scientist, told The Associated Press that another of his brothers, Charles, told him Bruce had committed suicide. (Yahoo)
LA Times: Apparent suicide in anthrax case
Ivins, whose name had not been disclosed publicly as a suspect in the case, played a central role in research to improve anthrax vaccines by preparing anthrax formulations used in experiments on animals.
Regarded as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins also helped the FBI analyze the powdery material recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator’s office in Washington.
Ivins died Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital after ingesting a massive dose of prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine, said a friend and colleague, who declined to be identified out of concern that he would be harassed by the FBI.
- Jonathan Turley: Anthrax Suspect Commits Suicide as FBI Closes In
- BBC: Anthrax ‘suspect’ is found dead
- CNN: Anthrax suspect kills self before filing of criminal charges
UPDATE II: Social worker: Anthrax suspect was ‘homicidal’; Government researcher apparently killed himself as prosecutors closed
Ivins’ lawyer said the brilliant but troubled scientist was innocent but would never have a chance to prove it.
Friday’s sudden naming of Ivins as the top — and perhaps only — suspect in the anthrax attacks marked the latest bizarre twist in a case that has confounded the FBI for nearly seven years. Last month, the Justice Department cleared Ivins’ colleague, Steven Hatfill, who had been wrongly suspected in the case, and paid him $5.8 million.