Ricin suspect remains jailed; judge cites ‘serious mental health issues’


The woman accused of making ricin and testing it on neighbors at a Shelburne retirement community will remain behind bars.

Citing concerns over ‘serious mental health issues’ including previous attempts at suicide, the judge ordered Betty Miller to remain in custody Wednesday.

In the meantime, prosecutors and Miller’s defense attorney Paul Volk are looking for a facility where miller can receive psychiatric treatment.

“When my client is able to find an appropriate location, that is apparently what all parties believe is the correct way to proceed from here,” said Volk as he left the federal court building in Burlington.

The 70 year-old was taken into custody last week after telling investigators she manufactured ricin, in an effort to ‘injure herself’.

Court documents show the 70 year-old first tested the effectiveness of the ricin on others by putting it in their food and beverages for weeks. Miller harvested castor beans from the Wake Robin community, found ricin recipes on the interne t and in her kitchen, made the toxic substance. It’s defined by the FBI as a toxin with ‘the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety’.

State health officials told Local 22 & Local 44 News last Friday that one person, who is not the suspect, likely became ill from ricin poisoning. However, the symptoms were not serious. Experts say the window for others to become sick, is over.

Miller is in the custody of the United States Marshalls Service. The matter will be reviewed once and if a psychiatric care facility is found.

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