A retirement community resident made ricin and tested the deadly toxin on her neighbors by putting it on their food or in beverages over a period of weeks, investigators said.
She wanted to harm herself but was testing it first by sprinkling it onto the food and beverages of other residents of the Wake Robin retirement community. Judge John Conroy noted that she had a "lengthy mental health history" but did not elaborate.
Miller was placed in custody and is scheduled to be in court again on Wednesday. Vermont State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation said they were investigating the source of the deadly toxin ricin that was found at the retirement community.
Betty Miller was charged on Thursday with violating US laws that prohibit possessing biological weapons after tests revealed that she had manufactured ricin powder at the Wake Robin retirement home in Shelburne, Vermont.
"We are now aware of one person who likely became ill with ricin poisoning, and we have been following up with that person", he said.
FBI investigators say she used instructions printed from the Internet to make ricin, an extremely toxic poison, out of castor beans picked from a garden at Wake Robin. He said Miller indicated she generated between 2 and 3 tablespoons of ricin on two occasions in the kitchen at her residence. "The pill bottles were labeled "Apple seed", "Cherry Seed", 'Yew seed", "Ricin", "Castor beans", and another type of seed.
Entry teams also observed a sheet of instructions for making Ricin that appeared to have been printed from the internet, and a laptop computer in the residence. If the deadly drug is ingested, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, and seizures.
No residents reported symptoms of ricin poisoning at the time. "The resident of the apartment in question is now involved with the criminal justice system and will not be returning to Wake Robin". A Wake Robin spokeswoman said residents were safe.
The FBI says no Wake Robin residents reported symptoms consistent with ricin poisoning.
Police say first responders were called to Wake Robin on Tuesday and found that a substance field-tested positive for the poison. Ricin is a highly toxic substance that only takes a few grains the size of table salt to kill a human. "They all came back negative", Truman said. State health officials have been in touch with Wake Robin staff and administrators every day since this began.
Earlier this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was asked to come to the Wake Robin life care community in Shelburne, Vermont, to investigate a potentially toxic substance. He also emphasized maintaining safety and privacy.