William Christopher Gibbs (Credit: Fannin County Sheriff's Office)

FBI investigates after man says he was exposed to ricin 

The FBI in Atlanta is investigating after a Fannin County man showed up at a hospital and said he was exposed to ricin, a deadly toxin, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta.

William Christopher Gibbs, 27, drove himself to a hospital and said he’d been exposed to ricin, ABC News reported. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bob Page, confirmed an investigation is ongoing.

Gibbs was arrested Feb. 2 on reckless conduct and violation of probation charges, according to a police report.

In that report, deputies wrote that his mother said Gibbs suffers from various mental health issues, such as schizophrenia.

“We have identified no evidence that any poisonous or toxic substances have been dispersed or that the public is at risk, and we are coordinating with the 4th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team of the Army National Guard and the Cherokee County Fire Department to ensure that the area is safe,” US Attorney John Horn said in a statement. 

Fannin County Maj. Keith Bosen said hazmat officials from Cherokee County were conducting tests on Gibbs’ car, but he would not confirm reports that Sheriff Dane Kirby said Gibbs’ car tested positive for ricin.

Accidental exposure to ricin, which is found in castor beans, is unlikely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people,” the CDC website states. “Unintentional exposure to ricin is highly unlikely, except through the ingestion of castor beans.” 

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