An interesting retirement hobby

A 70-year-old woman living in a Vermont retirement home passed her time experimenting with homemade ricin, even testing it on fellow residents, the Justice Department said Friday.

No one had apparently been killed by Betty Miller’s activities at the bucolic Wake Robin retirement home in Shelburne, Vermont, which advertises a population of “vibrant, engaged people and a community in which you can be yourself.”

But Miller was arrested by FBI agents Thursday amid fears she had stockpiled a weapon of mass destruction.

The FBI was alerted to a dangerous substance at the home earlier this week, and discovered a bottle labelled “ricin” in her residence. Tests confirmed it contained the deadly substance.

“Miller stated that she had an interest in plant-based poisons and had conducted internet research on how to make them,” the FBI said in a statement.

“She stated that she manufactured ricin in the kitchen of her Wake Robin residence and, to test its potency, placed the ricin in the food or beverages of other residents.”

An FBI WMD team returned for a search of her apartment and found more ricin, and components from plants, including apple, yew, cherry, castor and foxglove, which all can be used to produce poisonous substances.

Why not learn how to poison people?

Extra points could be awarded for claiming to be Wiccan and thus covered by First Amendment protections…..hey, it works for some Indians and their drugs.

11 comments on “An interesting retirement hobby

  1. Components from apple, cherry and yew?

    That’s my fruit basket and breadboard off to be water boarded, then. Foxgloves in the garden and I don’t put it past Mrs SE not to have some castor oil somewhere.

    If I get raided, I’m a gonner aren’t I?

  2. Who’d have thought it – poison can be made with readily available ingredients (like back in the middle ages).

    I’m off to write a letter to my MP to get all these things banned. Wouldn’t want the bearded terrorists getting hold of them.

  3. Making it seems no “crime” to me.

    The silly old cow should not have been “testing” it on her fellow inmates. Nor keeping it in labelled bottles.

    She is probably on the senile side. But that won’t stop the scum of the FBI crowing to the media about their triumph–as indeed we are already witness to.

  4. ‘No one had apparently been killed by Betty Miller’s activities’

    ‘Tests confirmed it contained the deadly substance.’

    Deadly? Betty Miller’s experiments prove it’s not.

  5. @Gamecock:

    I presume that the tests have confirmed that it is nominally ricin, but that its levels of concentration are so low that it is far below the lethal dose required.

    However, it might be that she managed to make an effective batch of ricin, but that she screwed up in the method of delivery.

    Not much point using dehydration to concentrate the ricin and then adding it to someone’s drink, is it?

    Breaking Bad producers worked with the DEA to ensure that the “Heisenberg’s” cooking process could not be used to make methamphetamine, I presume the same was also true of ricin element of the storyline.

  6. Ricin is a big protein so it tends to get chopped up by peptidases in the stomach and ileum. You need about 50 times as much to kill someone orally as intramuscularly. Even so, ~100 mg will probably kill someone.

  7. @Surreptitious Evil, December 2, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Components from apple, cherry and yew?

    Apple & Cherry seeds contain cyanide.

    iirc apple + seeds are OK at normal consumption, but eight cherries + seeds can be fatal. Try at your own risk.

  8. It’s true John Galt that the dose makes the poison.

    My objection is to the Telegraph’s continuity error.

  9. An FBI WMD team returned for a search of her apartment and found more ricin, and components from plants, including apple, yew, cherry, castor and foxglove, which all can be used to produce poisonous substances.

    It is the ultimate Murder, She Wrote episode – Jessica Fletcher discovers that the pot puorri did it!

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