East Texas resident Nathaniel Richardson, identified by local media Friday as the primary person of interest in an FBI probe of three threatening letters mailed to gun control supporters, was reportedly turned in by his pregnant wife, an actress who appeared in "The Walking Dead" and "Vampire Diaries."
Letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his gun control advocacy group Mayors Against Illegal Guns tested positive for the poison ricin, which is made from castor beans. It's not yet clear if a similar letter addressed to President Barack Obama, first reported Thursday, has tested positive for ricin.
Shannon Richardson, the person of interest's wife, "called law enforcement after finding a suspicious substance in the couple's refrigerator," the Texarkana Gazette reports. She was escorted to a federal courthouse in Texarkana, Texas, Friday as investigators combed through the couple's nearby New Boston home, the paper reports.
Neighbors told KSLA-TV the Richardsons have five children who live in the home. The man works at the nearby Red River Army Depot, a co-worker told the station.
The FBI has not yet announced an arrest in the case. According to news reports, the three letters were postmarked on May 20 in Shreveport, La., and contained the same printed message warning against gun confiscation, in an apparent criticism of stalled gun control legislation. Law enforcement sourcestold CBS News that the poison was "crudely made and of poor quality."
WNBC-TV reports that all three letters said in part: "You will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right and I will exercise that right till the day I die. What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you."
Two other rounds of ricin-laced letters targeted Obama and other public officials this year.
Matthew Ryan Buquet of Spokane, Wash., was arrested May 22 and charged with mailing a threatening communication after five suspicious envelopes with addresses scrawled in red ink were detected by authorities. The FBI disclosed the arrest Thursday, eight days after Buquet's arrest.
Three of the Spokane-postmarked letters – addressed to Obama, a local post office and a federal district court judge in Spokane – tested positive for ricin. A fourth letter, addressed to an Air Force base, is being tested for ricin and a fifth letter, mailed to the CIA's Virginia headquarters, has not been intercepted. All five letters were postmarked May 13.
"In the unlikely event a letter fitting this description is encountered by a member of the public, the envelope should not be opened or handled and law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately," the FBI's Seattle field office said in a Thursday statement.
The Associated Press reports that Buquet, who may face additional charges, is a 37-year-old registered sex offender.
Another spate of ricin mailings appeared to be motivated by a personal feud between two Mississippi men. In April three letters postmarked in Memphis, Tenn., were mailed to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and a Mississippi judge.
Each of the Memphis-postmarked letters tested positive for ricin and were signed "I am KC and I approve this message," prompting FBI investigators to arrest and charge Elvis tribute artist Paul Kevin Curtis. Charges against Curtis were dropped for lack of evidence. James Everett Dutschke, a fellow Mississippian who disliked Curtis, was subsequently charged with committing the crimes in an apparent bid to frame Curtis. Dutschke is in jail awaiting trial.