Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Anthrax Suspect the FBI Refused to Investigate

by Pat Brown

I can vouch for Stephen Hatfill's claim that the FBI over-focused on him as the one and only possible Anthrax suspect. They downright refused to investigate the man I brought to them, in spite of the fact the evidence I presented was extremely interesting and concerning.

My suspect evolved following a FOX interview I gave in which I profiled the Anthrax suspect. I believe I said something along these lines:

1. He would be connected with Rutgers University in New Jersey or the area surrounding it.

2. He would be extremely obsessed with the media and politics.

3. He would have written many letters prior to the Anthrax attacks to editors of newspapers and politicians telling them answers to world problems and getting miffed he was not receiving proper responses to his "helpful" opinions.

4. He would ride the train between Trenton and Baltimore/Washington DC.

5. He would have some strong connection to America Media, where the first Anthrax letter hit.

A few days after this interview, I received the first of two letters, addressed in block handwriting and containing copies of bizarre letters to the media. Much of the content was how to solve crime and
political problems.

The signature had been left off. The name of the sender was a fake, as was the return address
in Tom's River, New Jersey. It wasn't until I ripped open the envelope (in my car) and then saw the label, I realized it could be the Anthrax guy. I battled with myself over going to the Emergency Room of the local hospital for Anthrax prevention medicine but I ended up being too embarrassed to go ask for it. (I crossed my fingers, instead.)

I survived the contents of the two letters and I was able to track down the writer. Here's what I found:

1. He was connected with Rutgers University in New Jersey. He was a Ph.D. in Biology working with soil.

2. He was extremely obsessed with the media, politics, and crime.

3. He had written many letters prior to the Anthrax attacks to editors of newspapers and politicians telling them answers to world problems and getting miffed he was not receiving proper responses to his "helpful" opinions.

4. He rode the train between Trenton and Baltimore/Washington DC where he had relatives. He did not drive.

5. He had a strong connection to America Media, where the first Anthrax letter hit. He was a regular subscriber to their Star tabloid magazine.

Furthermore, the man had many psychopath traits including pathological lying and grandiose ideation. He claimed previously to coworkers that he had worked covertly with the military to fight insurgents in Nicaragua and that after 9/11 the government had helicoptered him down to Washington, DC as part of a special undercover team of agents on a secret mission.

He also had a mentally unstable girlfriend over at Princeton, who used to be a student at Duke. She also was a Biology Ph.D. The Anthrax letters were dropped in a mailbox near Princeton University.

Am I saying my suspect is absolutely the Anthrax UNSUB? Of course not. But I will tell you that if you put his profile and links up against Stephen Hatfill, I would have sent 99 agents to check this guy out and let the other one see if he could find anything of note to justify a further look at Hatfill.


Anonymous said...

* Posted by cheryl to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 11:18 AM

Very strange. I happened to notice a few things which may or may not mean a darn thing.

As I looked at the envelope photo, several things struck me. The fake name was Jonah. If you look at the H in Jonah, it was originally an L, but for whatever reason, the sender changed it into an H.
Also, the Baker St. address. Sherlock Holmes' street. There is no Baker St. in Toms River, which brings me to another point.
Toms River is spelled correctly on the envelope. Even you, Pat, made the mistake of calling it Tom's River. As one who lives in Ocean County NJ, and having researched the origins of the county, it's kind of a sticking point with me. Toms was a British officer who settled in with the natives of the area pre-Revolutionary War. There is no apostrophe in the name. Strange.

* Posted by Pat Brown to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 11:52 AM

Excellent detective work,Cheryl!

You are so right about the Toms River point! I never caught that myself, and like you say, I screwed it up because I am not a resident of NJ (at least, not since I was nine). We have a similar issue with the town of Silver Spring, Maryland because outsiders always say Silver Springs.

I noted the Sherlock Holmes' address of Baker Street, which as you note, does not exist in Toms River. There is not a Jonah Smith there either.

Why he might have started making an L I am not sure, except perhaps he got distracted. The name he was trying to write was Jonah, so I am not sure why he would have a problem with the last letter.

*Posted by Anonymous to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 12:59 PM

Regarding the letter 'L' in Jonah...if the writer was used to writing another name, say 'Donald,' he would be used to writing the letter 'L' after 'ONA' would be a reflex.


* Posted by cheryl to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 1:10 PM

I lived in Silver Spring Maryland for several years in the late 90's as well, on University Blvd near Wheaton. I know how Silver Springers feel about the town name also.

Another interesting point on the envelope is the postmark. Monmouth PD&C took up a lot of the slack when the Trenton facility closed down due to Anthrax contamination. I know this because my boyfriend at the time was a postal contractor driver. But there are only so many parts, or zip codes, if you will, in the state that send their mail through any existing mail processing center.
I am extremely surprised that the FBI didn't look into your suspicions after seeing your profile and the subsequent correspondence with you.

* Posted by Pat Brown to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 1:15 PM

Yes, the Monmouth facility did take over any mail sent from the Trenton facility, so if someone mailed again from that Princeton mailbox it would go through Monmouth. When I first checked those letters postmark, I thought, well, Monmouth is not where I thought the Anthrax sender would be and then I found out about them taking up the slack which I find very interesting.

* Posted by cheryl to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 1:13 PM

Anonymous....I thought of that same thing myself with the handwriting.

* Posted by Levi to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 10:18 PM

Pat this great post, this proves what happens when investigators find a guy, narrow in on a suspect, and refuse to look at anything else but what makes the suspect they nabbed guilty.

* Posted by Pat Brown to Women in Crime Ink at June 29, 2008 10:31 PM

Sometimes the absolute focus is because there is no question at all that the right suspect is the one being focused on...say, O.J. Do we need to waste time following up some lady's tip that her cousin, Eddie, really the murders? Probably not.

However, even if one has a pretty darn good suspect, if there is not yet solid evidence to bet your house on the suspect being the right guy, then one ought to (if only for playing Devil's Advocate) look at other suspects if the evidence is pretty darn interesting.

Suppose I just received a letter from Northern Jersey from a guy named Bill Green (who really was Bill Green, a massage therapist)who says some really weird things and has made comments in the letter about anthrax and Al Qaeda. Well, I don't see much there to go nuts over.

But, in the case of the letters sent to me, they were sent anonymously by a man who never expected me to figure out who he was, who DID live in the area that was suspected to be a possible location of the Anthrax UNSUB, he WAS a biologist - not a massage therapist, he had a girlfriend a Princeton where the mailbox was, he was also obsessed with the media, etc., etc.

So, my suspect was not "just a nutjob," he was a nutjob with awfully coincidental similarities to the Anthrax UNSUB's details.

Now, if Hatfill's DNA were on the envelopes, well, my guy is clearly just one of the many coincidences in investigation which is why investigations are called investigations.

But, if Hatfill's DNA isn't on the envelopes, if Anthrax isn't in his house, and no one photographed him popping mail into the Princeton mailbox on the days the Anthrax letters were mailed, then I would say my suspect should still be investigatated until he can be excluded as a suspect.

* Posted by JeannineNH to Women in Crime Ink at June 30, 2008 5:20 AM

I think it's interesting that if you look at the zipcode from the letter on Google maps (exclude the house# and street address), you will find that less than a mile from the central point is a refinery noted as "Toms River Cincinnati Chemical Corp."

Then, if you Google that company name, you will find all sorts of allegations from people living in the area/looking to purchase a house in the area, and whatnot.

* Posted by cheryl to Women in Crime Ink at June 30, 2008 7:41 AM

I wouldn't think that a chemicals factory would have much to do with anthrax. The chemical company referenced to has been a thorn in Toms River's side for years. It has undergone many name changes in the last few decades. It has been blamed for everything from cancer to autism. The claims could very well be true.(there is a cluster of cancer and autism in the area) I'm not a chemist.
But I highly doubt that anthrax would be found there. Anthrax is not a chemical. It is organic. I don't know of any chemical compounds that use anthrax.

* Posted by Pat Brown to Women in Crime Ink at June 30, 2008 8:38 AM

I still believe Ed Lake at
has the best analysis of the Anthrax attacks, especially his determinations concerning the production of the anthrax. He points out that it was probably made in a university lab and the water used in the production was from central New Jersey.

* Posted by cherry6905 to Women in Crime Ink at July 1, 2008 11:11 AM

Pat, I appreciate your article. . . . Thank you for your continued efforts at keeping us all safe.

* Posted by Leah to Women in Crime Ink at July 1, 2008 2:50 PM

Me too, Pat. Great Post!

Anonymous said...

Bruce E. Ivins, 2001 Anthrax Suspect Commits Suicide as FBI & Justice Department about to File Charges

Is this the same person that you were referring to?

Anonymous said...

So, was it Ivins? Or is he a convenient scapegoat? If it happened to Hatfill, why not Ivins? It's not like Ivins just popped up on the landscape, he was a small group of scientists that were known from the beginning, 7 years ago! ?

Anonymous said...

As soon as Pat finds a free moment . . . she will weigh in with her opinion. Thanks, anon, for resuscitating discussion on this post, which Women in Crime Ink has moved to our top spot for renewed discussion.

Thanks for your patience. Readers, feel free to discuss the case amongst yourselves until Pat Brown can join your dialogue.

Women in Crime Ink

Pat Brown said...

I had never heard of Bruce Ivins either. No, he is definitely not the man I was looking at.

Do I think Ivins is the guy? Well, I have to say his work with Fort Dietrich is one good point and just today there is supposedly some information about a new DNA technology that links back to Ivin's work specifically. If this is actually true and not some fabricated "evidential link" then I would say that was also quite strong evidence.

As to the rantings of that social worker, Jean Duly, I don't put much stock in what she says. First of all, she can't even spell the simplest words on the paper she had to fill out to request a protection order and, secondly, she attaches just about every kind of crime and disorder on to Ivins to the point it seems as she pulled descriptions haphazardly out of some book on psychopaths. She even makes claims that "he tried to poison other people" would she know this? She could only know that "he claimed to have tried to poison other people" since she is not a police investigator gathering evidence but a therapist simply listening to what Ivins is saying. Duley was cooperating with the FBI and until I get some confirmation from other sources, I would say these statements of hers are nothing more than character assassination by someone who can't defend himself.

As one scientist said, "Show me the PROOF" that it is Ivins. I agree and I want to see more than he worked in a lab with other scientist and some nutcase of a social worker is scared of him and thinks he is dangerous. I want to see the links - a bunch of them. Then, I will be happy and relieved they found the culprit and we are all going to be safer.

But, here is a problem that concerns me much with certain investigations. Good suspects (like the one I wrote about above) are totally ignored. Other suspects with no really good links are overfocused on. Then, sometimes a fall guy is picked - it help if he is dead - and the case is closed.

I quite frankly have no caring for WHICH guy is the right guy, just that the right guy is gotten. And when he has been identified, arrested, convicted, or simply blamed, law enforcement ought to be able to provide a substantial amount of evidence to prove he is the guilty party. If the government never bothers to show us the links to Ivins, then I will wonder that it isn't the same think that happened with Dennis Rader in the BTK case. Although Rader "confessed" in court (read: said what he was told to say whether he committed each and every one of the crimes committed), absolutely NONE of the evidence the DA claimes to have has ever been shown to the public. I say, if it exists, be proud of it and show it off! Why wouldn't you want to brag about the evidence that has been uncovered that led to a successful prosecution or conclusion? Doesn't that seem a bit odd?

So, I am waiting for the rest of the evidence on Ivins. I sure hope they have it because, if they don't, poor Ivins and his family have destroyed for nothing. I can see making a public issue out of some lying psychopath like Casey Anthony or Drew Peterson (since they caused their problems by acting like scum) but as far as I can see, no one really has said Ivins acted in such a way that he deserved to get trashed even if he wasn't guilty of the attacks.

Anonymous said...

This re-appearing blog has had me confused for the past few days but I get it now. LOL

Why would any therapist even be talking about their deceased client to anyone in the media?? Besides that, if he was really ill and she was afraid of him she should have alerted the proper authorities. She has an obligation to do so.

Pat Brown said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you, Leah! I am all for reporting dangerous people to the authorities and committing them. I just found her all-over-the map opinion that Ivins is .. a revenge killer, a woman hater, a mass murderer, a poisoner, a ......... I haven't seen that many versions of psychopathic expression in one person in my history of profiling!

I also wonder if she is not an attention seeking drama queen and has misconstrued or exaggerated anything and everything the man said.

Suppose he came in completely pissed that his life had been ruined and all that he has strived for his entire life has ended in humiliation. Maybe he said, for example, "Geez, I mean, they have taken everything from me. what's to keep me from putting on a vest and blowing everyone away? A lot of people would do that!"

THIS would not be a statement of intent to kill but a commentary on the dangers of pushing someone over the edge and destroying their faith in humans. Did she change a statement like that to "I am going to don a vest and kill people?" I would love to hear actually tapes of what he said and not Duley's rendition of his words. I know I am misquoted constantly in the press and then people jump all over my "statements" and claim I don't know what I am talking about. I get frustrated by that; I can imagine how much worse it would be if someone not only misquoted you but made you sound homicidal as well.

Anonymous said...

Leah, Jean Duley (please try to spell properly Pat) made all these crazy accusations in court - there is an audio that you can listen to...why are you not understanding these events?

Pat Brown said...

Duley, 45, also has a minor criminal record, according to court records. She pleaded guilty in April to driving under the influence and was fined $500 and placed on probation for nearly a year. In October 2006, she pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was fined $580. A 1992 charge of possessing drug paraphernalia was dismissed.

Generic Cialis said...

I read so many information that those Anthrax attacks were an inside job, wonder what is the truth behind all that.