Mississippi man accused of mailing letters containing ricin to politicians, according to the FBI
Suspect is Elvis impersonator, conspiracy theorist
Last Updated: 233 days ago
OXFORD, Miss. - A man in Mississippi has been arrested and accused of sending letters with suspected ricin poison to President Barack Obama and other leaders.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen told the Associated Press the man was arrested Wednesday.
ABC News identified the suspect as 45-year-old Paul Kevin Curtis of Corinth, Mississippi.
Authorities still waited for definitive tests on the letters to Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., which had raised concern Wednesday at a time when many people were jittery after the Boston bombings.
An FBI intelligence bulletin obtained by The Associated Press said those two letters were postmarked in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jim Johnson, the Sheriff of Lee County, Mississippi, said the Justice Court in that county received a letter that appeared to be related on April 10.
"It was typewritten and contained some wording that was of interest," he described. "Also inside this letter was some suspicious content."
Johnson said his department compared the letter to the two being investigated by the FBI and found many similarities in the format, content and postmark.
Johnson was cautious about positively identifying the substance, although he did eventually say that preliminary results indicate it was likely ricin.
"If it comes back to be, um, a substance that, um, we believe they could possibly be, we will be talking with our District Attorney here and filing state charges," he said.
Those state charges could include aggravated assault against a public official, because the letter was sent to a judge. Another possible charge, if the substance is confirmed to be ricin, could be possession or use of a weapon of mass destruction.
According to ABC News, the letter addressed to President Obama included the message, "To see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner to its continuance," according to a source familiar with an investigation of the incident.
"I am KC and I approve this message," the letter read.
Ricky Curtis, who said he was Kevin Curtis' cousin, said the family was shocked by the news of the arrest. He described his cousin as a "super entertainer" who impersonated Elvis Presley and numerous other singers.
"We're all in shock. I don't think anybody had a clue that this kind of stuff was weighing on his mind," Ricky Curtis said in a telephone interview.
Ricky Curtis said his cousin had written about problems he had with a cleaning business and that he felt the government had not treated him well, but he said nobody in the family would have expected this. He said the writings were titled, "Missing Pieces."
A MySpace page for a cleaning company called The Cleaning Crew confirms that they "do windows" and has profile photo of "Kevin Curtis, Master of Impressions." A YouTube channel under the name of Kevin Curtis has dozens of videos of him performing as different famous musicians, including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Kid Rock.
"As far as him being anti-government, I'm not going to say that, but he had some issues with some stuff that happened with his cleaning business," the cousin said.
Multiple online posts on various websites under the name Kevin Curtis refer to the conspiracy he claimed to uncover when working at a local hospital from 1998 to 2000.
The author wrote the conspiracy that began when he "discovered a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts & organs wrapped in plastic in the morgue of the largest non-metropolitan healthcare organization in the United States of America."
Curtis wrote that he was trying to "expose various parties within the government, FBI, police departments" for what he believed was "a conspiracy to ruin my reputation in the community as well as an ongoing effort to break down the foundation I worked more than 20 years to build in the country music scene."
In one post, Curtis said he sent letters to Wicker and other politicians.
"I never heard a word from anyone," Curtis wrote. "I even ran into Roger Wicker several different times while performing at special banquets and fundraisers in northeast, Mississippi but he seemed very nervous while speaking with me and would make a fast exit to the door when I engaged in conversation."
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.