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FBI Looks Into Missing Biologist Case

November 25, 2001|From Associated Press

BOSTON — The FBI is monitoring the investigation into the disappearance of a Harvard biologist because of his research into potentially lethal viruses, including Ebola.

Dr. Don C. Wiley, 57, was last seen in Memphis, Tenn., where he attended the annual meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. His rental car was found Nov. 16 on a bridge over the Mississippi River, with a full fuel tank and the key in the ignition.

Wiley had left the Peabody Hotel just four hours before the car was discovered. He was to have met his wife and two children that same day in Cambridge.

FBI agents took an interest in Wiley's disappearance because of his expertise and "given our state of affairs post-Sept. 11," FBI agent William Woerner in Memphis told the Boston Globe.

Wiley, a Harvard biochemistry and biophysics professor, is an expert on Ebola, HIV and influenza.

In 1999, Wiley and another Harvard professor, Dr. Jack Strominger, won the Japan Prize for immune system research.

Wiley's wife, Karen Valgeirsdottir, doesn't think his disappearance is related to his work because most of it is available in books and on the Internet.

"That just doesn't seem plausible," she said.

Wiley's sister-in-law, Susan Wiley, who lives near Memphis, said it is not like Wiley not to leave a note. Days before he disappeared, he left a note for his father before going jogging.

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