One of the nation's top biodefense researchers has died in Maryland from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax mailing assaults of 2001 that killed five, the Los Angeles Times has learned.The story doesn't indicate what kind of evidence the government had against him, but if I'm reading between the lines correctly, it sounds like Ivins' brother thought he was a pretty good suspect. "He had in his mind that he was omnipotent," Thomas Ivins told the Times. I'm not quite sure what that means, but it doesn't sound like a compliment.
Bruce E. Ivins, 62, who for the past 18 years worked at the government's elite biodefense research laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., had been informed of the impending prosecution, people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and with the FBI investigation said.
Ivins' name had not been disclosed publicly as a suspect in the case that disrupted mail service and Senate business three weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Maryland scientist had for years played a pivotal role in research to improve anthrax vaccines, preparing anthrax formulations used in experiments on animals.