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Investigators have third target in ricin letters probe

Investigators apparently have a third target in the ongoing search in Mississippi for the person who mailed ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, a senator and a judge.

Itawamba County, Miss., Sheriff Chris Dickerson confirmed Thursday morning that agents plan to search the home of Kirk Kitchens in the Ozark community near Mantachie, about 10 miles northeast of Tupelo, Miss. The sheriff said he believes authorities are in the process of getting a warrant.

Several vehicles were parked in front of the home this morning, and there was activity at the residence throughout the night.

Eric Adams, a neighbor, said Kitchens’ son was a karate student of James Everett Dutschke, whose home and former martial arts studio in Tupelo were searched Tuesday and Wednesday.

No charges have been filed and authorities have not said what, if anything, has been found in their searches.

Authorities first charged Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, of Corinth, with mailing letters carrying Memphis postmarks to Obama; Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; and Lee County, Miss., Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland. The letters tested positive for ricin, a deadly biological toxin made from castor beans.

The charges against Curtis were dropped Tuesday, and authorities turned their search to Dutschke, 41, who was believed to have a long-running feud with Curtis.

Curtis said Wednesday he didn't know what ricin is, he even reportedly said to an investigator who asked him about ricin, "Well, I don't eat rice, and I don't have any rice in the house."

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