A small amount of ricin was found in a man’s apartment after police responded to a suicide call and the deadly toxin triggered a multi-agency response.
Thirty-six-year-old Matthew Friedman’s body was found in his apartment on Retablo Avenue Monday, along with a heroin and a suicide note.
“Investigators then found a plastic bag which was labeled red castor beans, a substance used to make ricin,” said Deputy Chief Christopher Darcy, Metro.
Because the beans were found in their natural state, the body was removed and the apartment sealed. However, Darcy said after the coroner reviewed Friedman’s body, testing involving a hazardous materials team, was conducted at the apartment Tuesday near Flamingo and Decatur roads. Samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control.
Wednesday morning, Metro received confirmation from the CDC that ricin was present in the apartment.
Dr. Joe Iser, the chief health officer for the Southern Nevada Health District said there is no public heatlh threat. “This is a very contained exposure.”
Police are still seeking information on where and how Friedman purchased the castor beans.
“We ask anyone out there who knew Mr. Friedman or who was friends with him to please contact us at 702.828.7777,” Deputy Chief Darcy said.
The coroner will perform an autopsy to determine Friedman’s cause of death and whether ricin was a contributing factor.
Police say this incident is still under investigation.
(Watch entire police news conference)