Australian police on Thursday arrested the woman at the heart of a Wellington lunch involving poisoned mushrooms that left three people dead and a pastor in critical condition.
Erin Patterson, 49, was arrested Thursday morning and police began searching her home with dogs capable of sniffing out electronic devices such as USB drives. Once the search is over, she will be questioned, Victoria Police Crime Squad Inspector Dean Thomas said.
“Today’s arrest is only one step in this complex and in-depth investigation by Crime Brigade Inspectors, and it is far from complete.”Mr. Thomas told reporters, without answering questions.
In the investigation, A “amazing” Interest from the media and public opinion in Australia and overseas, he added.
“I think it’s very important to remember that at the heart of this case, three people lost their lives.”Mr. Thomas said.
The arrest is the latest twist in a story that has kept the country in suspense, shining a spotlight on Leongatha, a small rural town about 110km south-west of Melbourne.
Ms Patterson, who was not charged, has always maintained her innocence. On July 29, she prepared a recipe for beef wellington for her parents-in-law, Dan and Gail Patterson. She married their son Simon, but the couple had been living apart for some time. A Baptist minister, Ian Wilkinson and his wife Heather completed the guest list.
Four of her guests soon fell ill and, unlike her, was in good health, fueling rumors that designated her as a suspect. The preacher’s mother-in-law and wife died a few days later of symptoms of food poisoning. Only 69-year-old Pastor Wilkinson survived nearly two months in hospital.
Released from hospital on September 23, he made his first public appearance at a memorial service for his wife in early October, a newspaper reported. “breakable” And walked with help“A Walkway”.
Their symptoms were consistent with those caused by ingestion of Amanita phalloides, and after the fatal meal Mrs.
He has always maintained his innocence, confirming in August that he bought the mushrooms at an Asian grocery store and that it was an accident.
“I was devastated to think that these mushrooms could have contributed.” with a fatal outcome. “I want to repeat that I had no reason to hurt these people I loved.”she continued.
At Don and Gail Patterson’s funeral, the Reverend Fran Grimes said the community was trying. “Protect the family from cruel speculations and rumours”.
Balloid amanitas, also known as green orange and chalice of death, can easily be confused with edible species. Its powerful toxins severely damage the liver and kidneys. There is currently no real antidote to phalloidin venom.
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