A man accused of mailing letters with suspected ricin to national leaders believed he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell human body parts on the black market and sometimes performed as an Elvis Presley impersonator.
Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was arrested on Wednesday at his home near the Tennessee state line, north of Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo.
Authorities were waiting for definitive tests on intercepted letters that were addressed to US President Barack Obama and US Senator Roger Wicker.
Preliminary field tests can often show false positives for ricin. Ricin is derived from the castor plant that makes castor oil. There is no antidote and it is deadliest when inhaled.
An FBI intelligence bulletin obtained by The Associated Press said the two letters were postmarked Memphis, Tennessee.
Both letters said: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”
Both were signed: “I am KC and I approve this message.”
The letters had Washington on edge in the days after the Boston Marathon bombing. As authorities scurried to investigate three questionable packages discovered in Senate office buildings on Wednesday, reports of suspicious items also came in from at least three senators’ offices in their home states. The items were found to be harmless.
In Corinth, a city of about 14,000, police cordoned off part of a subdivision where Curtis lived. At least five police cars were on the scene, but there did not appear to be any hazardous-material crews and no neighbors were evacuated. The one-story, single-family home is similar to the others in the neighborhood, red bricks with white trim.
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 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.
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 Web sites 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.”
Kevin 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.”
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around