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FBI Wraps Up Pond Search

A Maryland site near an Army disease research facility was drained and picked through, but no new clues to anthrax attacks were found.

June 30, 2003|From Associated Press

FREDERICK, Md. — FBI agents have finished searching a pond for clues in the 2001 anthrax attacks, finding no additional evidence to immediately suggest any links to the case, a report said Sunday.

The FBI this month drained the 4- to 5-foot-deep pond in Frederick Municipal Forest, where authorities believed the attacker may have filled the envelopes with deadly spores underwater for his own protection.

The work drew FBI agents, other law enforcement officials and contractors, who operated dump trucks and backhoes at the site several miles northwest of the city.

The Washington Post, citing law enforcement officials, said the FBI took soil samples from the bottom of the pond for testing.

Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty said the FBI told her "they found a bicycle, some logs and a street sign," leaving the items for workers to dispose of in a public landfill, the Post reported. Dougherty said the FBI told her it was finished at the pond.

The attacks killed five people and sickened 17 others who were infected by anthrax bacteria sent through the mail.

The pond is eight miles from the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick, the primary custodian of the strain of anthrax found in envelopes sent to the victims.

Dr. Steven Hatfill, a bioterrorism expert who formerly worked as a researcher at the institute, has been described as a "person of interest" in the investigation. His apartment was next to Ft. Detrick.

Hatfill has denied any involvement in the attacks.

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