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Man named in poison letters case goes into hiding

  • Itawamba County Sheriff's Department deputies finish inspecting a home and property in the Ozark community, northeast of Tupelo, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The officers were looking for Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Itawamba County Sheriff's Department deputies finish inspecting a home and property in the Ozark community, northeast of Tupelo, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The officers were looking for Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Kirk Kitchens of Saltillo, Miss., speaks on Thursday, April 25, 2013 about how he helped Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others, get away from the news media coverage Wednesday. Kitchens said they went to the family’s weekend house in the Ozark community, then went to another location. "I just helped him get out of the spotlight," he told The Associated Press. He said Dutschke was not trying to get away from authorities, just the media. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Kirk Kitchens of Saltillo, Miss., speaks on Thursday, April 25, 2013 about how he helped Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others, get away from the news media coverage Wednesday. Kitchens said they went to the family’s weekend house in the Ozark community, then went to another location. "I just helped him get out of the spotlight," he told The Associated Press. He said Dutschke was not trying to get away from authorities, just the media. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Itawamba County Sheriff's Department deputies finish inspecting a home and property in the Ozark community, northeast of Tupelo, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The officers were looking for Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Itawamba County Sheriff's Department deputies finish inspecting a home and property in the Ozark community, northeast of Tupelo, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The officers were looking for Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Federal authorities in hazmat suits stand outside a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss., in connection with the recent ricin attacks. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Federal authorities in hazmat suits stand outside a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss., in connection with the recent ricin attacks. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson tells reporters that he and his deputies are satisfied that Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others, is not at a private residence in the Ozark community, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013  No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. Federal authorities lost track of Dutschke Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson tells reporters that he and his deputies are satisfied that Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others, is not at a private residence in the Ozark community, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013 No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. Federal authorities lost track of Dutschke Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Federal authorities, some in hazmat suits, walk outside the staging area as they search the site of a martial arts studio once operated by 41-year-old Everett Dutschke, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss., in connection with the investigation into poisoned letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Federal authorities, some in hazmat suits, walk outside the staging area as they search the site of a martial arts studio once operated by 41-year-old Everett Dutschke, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss., in connection with the investigation into poisoned letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Federal authorities, some in hazmat suits, walk outside the staging area as they search at a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, in connection with the recent ricin attacks, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Federal authorities, some in hazmat suits, walk outside the staging area as they search at a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, in connection with the recent ricin attacks, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Itawamba County Sheriff's Department deputies finish inspecting a home and property in the Ozark community, northeast of Tupelo, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The officers were looking for Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
  • Kirk Kitchens of Saltillo, Miss., speaks on Thursday, April 25, 2013 about how he helped Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others, get away from the news media coverage Wednesday. Kitchens said they went to the family’s weekend house in the Ozark community, then went to another location. "I just helped him get out of the spotlight," he told The Associated Press. He said Dutschke was not trying to get away from authorities, just the media. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
  • Itawamba County Sheriff's Department deputies finish inspecting a home and property in the Ozark community, northeast of Tupelo, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013. The officers were looking for Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
  • Federal authorities in hazmat suits stand outside a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss., in connection with the recent ricin attacks. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
  • Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson tells reporters that he and his deputies are satisfied that Everett Dutschke, a person of interest in connection with the investigation into the recent ricin-laced letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others, is not at a private residence in the Ozark community, Miss., Thursday, April 25, 2013  No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. Federal authorities lost track of Dutschke Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
  • Federal authorities, some in hazmat suits, walk outside the staging area as they search the site of a martial arts studio once operated by 41-year-old Everett Dutschke, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss., in connection with the investigation into poisoned letters mailed to President Barack Obama and others. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
  • Federal authorities, some in hazmat suits, walk outside the staging area as they search at a small retail space where neighboring business owners said Everett Dutschke used to operate a martial arts studio, in connection with the recent ricin attacks, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in Tupelo, Miss. No charges have been filed against Dutschke and he hasn’t been arrested. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A Mississippi man whose home was searched in the investigation of poisoned letters sent to the president and others has apparently gone into hiding, but his attorney said he is cooperating and the FBI knows how to get in touch with him.

Everett Dutschke, 45, had his home and former business in Tupelo searched in connection with the letters, which allegedly contained ricin. They were sent last week to President Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and earlier to an 80-year-old Mississippi judge named Sadie Holland.

Charges were initially filed against a celebrity impersonator but then dropped. Attention then turned to Dutschke, who has ties to the former suspect and the judge and senator.

Yesterday, investigators looked through a different home about 20 miles away and a plane circled above for much of the day.

A friend of Dutschke’s said that both he and Dutschke stayed at the home for a while Wednesday before slipping out through the woods to rendezvous with someone who drove Dutschke elsewhere. He said Dutschke was just trying to escape the news media.

“I just helped him get out of the spotlight,” Kirk Kitchens said Thursday at his home in nearby Saltillo, Miss.

Dutschke has not been arrested or charged in the letters case. The FBI has said nothing about the building searches or yesterday’s developments.

Dutschke’s lawyer, Lori Nail Basham, said there is no arrest warrant for her client, who continues to cooperate with investigators.

Earlier Thursday, Itawamba County Sheriff Chris Dickinson said agents told him Dutschke had been under surveillance, but authorities weren’t sure where he had gone. He said they were satisfied he was not at the Ozark property.

Dutschke did not answer a call to his cell phone yesterday from the AP. He had previously kept in touch with AP reporters.

It was yet another strange turn in the case that began when charges were filed against 45-year-old entertainer Paul Kevin Curtis, whose lawyers now say he was set up for the crime.

Charges against Curtis were dropped Tuesday after authorities said they developed new information. His attorney, Christi McCoy, has said she does not know what new information led the FBI to abandon the charges but that the agency acted in good faith and worked from the information it had at the time.

The focus then turned to Dutschke. He said he was cooperating.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” Dutschke said Tuesday as investigators combed through his house. His business was searched the next day.

Curtis attorney Hal Neilson said the defense gave authorities a list of people who may have had a reason to hurt Curtis, and Dutschke’s name came up. He said prosecutors “took it and ran with it.”

Dutschke and Curtis were acquainted. Curtis said they had talked about possibly publishing a book on an alleged conspiracy to sell body parts on a black market. But he claimed they later had a feud.

Judge Holland is a common link between two men who have been investigated and both know Wicker.

Holland was presiding judge in a case in which Curtis was accused of assaulting a Tupelo attorney in 2004. Holland sentenced him to six months in the county jail. He served only part of the sentence, according to his brother.

Holland’s family has had political skirmishes with Dutschke in the past.

Steve Holland, a state representative, said he believes his mother’s only other encounter with Dutschke was at a rally in the town of Verona in 2007, when Dutschke ran as a Republican against Steve Holland.

Holland said his mother confronted Dutschke after he made a derogatory speech about the Holland family. She demanded that he apologize, which he did.

Steve Holland said he doesn’t know if his mother remembers Curtis’ assault case.

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