Ricin mailer suspect Paul Kevin Curtis was arrested last night on suspicion of sending poisoned letters to Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), President Barack Obama, and perhaps others. Authorities are still testing the letters to see if they really did contain the poison and, if so, how much.
The letters were mailed on April 8 from Memphis, TN, and they were signed, “I am KC and I approve this message.”
While the investigation is still ongoing, new clues are emerging about the 45-year-old Elvis impersonator who was arrested by federal agents at his home in Corinth, MS on Wednesday night. Paul Kevin Curtis is reported to be the same man who performs under the name Kevin Curtis. A You Tube channel, also alleged to be the suspect, is called Kevin Curtis.
A cousin, Ricky Curtis, told the Associated Press in a telephone interview that the accused ricin poisoner had experienced problems with his cleaning business. He also claimed that Kevin Curtis is a conspiracy theorist who wrote a collection of articles called Missing Pieces about a conspiracy to trade in body parts that he thought he uncovered while working for a hospital from 1998 to about 2000.
A very lengthy online complaint, allegedly by Kevin Curtis and supposedly posted in 2007, claims that he had sent over one million emails at that time to try to draw attention to the organ trafficking. In that complaint, he singles out Roger Wicker as someone he met several times at public gatherings. The post said that Wicker always seemed nervous and made a quick exit when Curtis approached. Hmmm.
Apparently, Paul Kevin Curtis has a long-time local reputation for being a little whackadoo. One internet commenter said that Kevin Curtis had talked about going undercover to blow the lid off the corrupt world of…wait for it…Elvis impersonator contests.
Laugh if you like, but performing as an Elvis impersonator in the Mississippi delta region near the Tunica area casinos, the Tupelo, MS birthplace of Elvis, and top Memphis tourist attraction, the Elvis mansion Graceland, can be a lucrative business for some area men. Kevin Curtis also billed himself as a master impressionist who could “do” other stars like Buddy Holly.
Here is a You Tube performance of Kevin Curtis singing the Elvis standard, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” He’s actually pretty good, and I hasten to remind you that we shouldn’t rush to judgment on the word of one cousin that this performer is the same Kevin Curtis arrested last night. Only time and a full FBI investigation will reveal the truth.
Corinth is a small town of about 14,000. According to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the police had blocked off part of his neighborhood. However, there didn’t seem to be any hazardous materials crews, and residents weren’t evacuated.
It’s possible that the suspect is a mentally ill individual who made threats he couldn’t carry out. It’s even possible that he imagined a lot of this stuff. He was quoted as claiming that there was a conspiracy to destroy his reputation in the community as well as his singing career.
It’s even possible that he is not the person who sent the letters at all. An innocent suspect in the 1996 Atlantic Olympic bombing case, Richard Jewell became a victim of a media “rush to judgment” and a whispering campaign. Years later, domestic terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph pled guilty to the bombing and many others.
Authorities don’t yet know how — or if — Paul Kevin Curtis could have obtained ricin.
[castor bean plant, natural source of ricin, photo by CC-BY via Wikipedia Commons]