A top government scientist who helped investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks – many of which were in New York City – has apparently committed suicide, reportedly as he was about to face charges in the case.
Family members say Bruce Ivins died Tuesday at a hospital in Maryland.
The Los Angeles Times reports he took a massive dose of a prescription Tylenol mixed with codeine.
Ivins worked at a government biodefense lab for years and was recently identified as a “person of interest” in connection with the anthrax scare. The 2001 incidents involved up to seven letters sent to Senate offices and newsrooms in New York and Florida.
The L.A. Times says the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against Ivins in the case.
In June, the government exonerated another scientist at the lab where Ivins worked who had been identified by the FBI as a person of interest in the attacks.
The government paid Steven Hatfill $5.82 million to settle a lawsuit he filed against the Justice Department.
Five people were killed and 17 sickened after letters containing anthrax powder were mailed in the weeks following the September 11th attacks.