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Attempted N. Logan ricin suicide woman recovers, will not be charged

Published October 22, 2013 12:58 pm

Ate castor beans • Incident prompted evacuation of home, hazmat response.
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A suicidal North Logan woman who survived poisoning with the deadly ricin toxin earlier this month is getting another break: she will not be criminally charged.

North Park Police Chief Kim Hawkes confirmed Tuesday that the 37-year-old woman, who ingested a large amount of ricin-laden castor beans on Oct. 3 in the basement apartment of a home in North Logan, was released from the hospital last week.

"She's a miracle," he said. "She made the decision to move in with family and is living now with a sister out-of-state."

The incident earlier this month led to an evacuation of the residence while hazardous materials workers checked to confirm the presence of ricin in the woman's living quarters, cleaned them and eventually cleared the scene.

Hawkes said that federal attorneys had decided recently not to pursue charges against the woman, since her intention was to harm no one but herself — and a family living upstairs was determined not to have been imperiled by her actions.

State attorneys also have reportedly declined to prosecute the woman.

Production of ricin, which can be a weapon of mass destruction, is considered a matter of federal law.

North Park is the police agency for North Logan and Hyde Park.

Ricin is highly toxic, and at high levels of exposure can cause severe diarrhea and fatal episodes of shock. Death typically occurs within three to five days of the initial exposure due to multiple organ failure.

The levels of ricin ingested by the woman proved to be low enough that treatment eventually cleared the substance from her body.

Hawkes said that the woman, who reportedly had been suffering back pain and mental health issues, has since been released to the care and custody of out-of-state relatives.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims