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April 23, 2013

Charges dropped against man in ricin letters case (UPDATED)

(Continued)

OXFORD, Miss. —

Tuesday's events began when the third day of a preliminary and detention hearing was cancelled without officials explaining the change. Within two hours, Curtis had been released, though it wasn't clear why at first.

FBI Agent Brandon Grant said in court on Monday that searches last week of Curtis' vehicle and house in Corinth, found no ricin, ingredients for the poison, or devices used to make it. A search of Curtis' computers found no evidence he researched making ricin. Authorities produced no other physical evidence at the hearings tying Curtis to the letters.

All the envelopes and stamps were self-adhesive, Grant said Monday, meaning they won't yield DNA evidence. One fingerprint was found on the letter sent to a Lee County judge, but the FBI doesn't know who it belongs to, Grant said.

The experience, Curtis said, has been a nightmare for his family. He has four children — ages, 8, 16, 18 and 20. It also has made him reflect deeply on his life.

"I've become closer to God through all this, closer with my children and I've even had some strained relationships with some family and cousins and this has brought us closer as a family," he said.

Wagster Pettus reported from Jackson. Associated Press writers Holbrook Mohr in Oxford, Jack Elliott in Jackson and Pete Yost in Washington contributed to this report.

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