La. official describes man accused of sending poisoned letters as kind, but paranoid
VIDALIA, LA — Paul Kevin Curtis, the man arrested for allegedly sending threatening letters laced with poison to the president and a senator, was raised in Natchez, Mississippi, and has continued to work in Louisiana and Mississippi due to his career as a performer.
Jamie K. Wiley with the Concordia Parish Chamber of Commerce explains that that although she is skeptical about the attempt to do harm, Curtis has expressed paranoid behavior. It all surrounds his belief that he uncovered an illegal organ harvesting black market.
“He’s such a sensitive, easy going person, from my experience with him,” Wiley, who has known Curtis for just under three years, said. “He just told me that he came across body parts and it freaked him out. Nobody would give him any answers, so he felt like he came across something that was being hidden and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.”
Wiley first met Curtis through his work as an impersonator. She’s booked him on several occasions to perform at the annual Jim Bowie Festival held in Vidalia, La.
“They loved him,” Wiley said when explaining the crowd reaction during his performance at the festival. “He was very friendly. He talked to everybody.”
Although Wiley described Curtis as a kind man, she noted that his behavior shifted when discussing his discovery.
“He didn’t act irate about it, but he felt like somebody was watching him all the time,” Wiley explained. “He did talk about being harassed, but I couldn’t really go into the details about it because it’s been so long since he shared that with me.”
Paul Kevin Curtis, 45, was born in Louisiana and grew up in Natchez, Mississippi. He moved from the area sometime after graduating from the now-closed South Natchez High School in 1987. He ended up in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he currently resides.
“He talked to me about finding body parts at the hospital [in Mississippi] where he was doing a floor job. He owned his own cleaning business at the time,” Wiley recalled. “He told me he came across body parts at the hospital and could not get anybody to respond to him when he went to the authorities. He said he had written to senators and it was like they didn’t get the letters.”
Curtis has posted extensively about the incident online. He claims he “accidentally discovered a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts and organs wrapped in plastic in the morgue” at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
“If he was paranoid, it was when he talked about the hospital and the body parts,” Wiley noted. “He felt like he had been undone, unjustly.”
CNN reports that the letters discovered on Tuesday, April 16, read “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.” The letters were signed “I am KC and I approve this message,” a source said.
“If he did send those letters, it was because he could not find justice with anybody he tried to contact,” Wiley noted. “But I do not believe he would do something like that.”
One of the online post detailing Curtis’ claims was put up on March 5, 2008. In his post he expresses three goals; to have an attorney look over his documents and for there to be a fair trial, a public apology from the CEO of the North Mississippi Medical Center and chance to clear his name, and to have his book “Missing Pieces” published.
According to reports, the letters were all typed on yellow paper and read:
“No one wanted to listen to me before.
There are still ‘Missing Pieces’
Even if that means someone must die.
This must stop.”
Officials say three of the four letters addressed to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker contained a protein later determined to be ricin, which is a lethal toxin. A fourth test, however, proved inconclusive. Capitol Police noted that Curtis has sent similar letters to the senator in the past.
“I did get the feeling from him that he would keep going higher and higher until someone paid attention to him,” Wiley noted.
Curtis appeared in federal court in Oxford, Mississippi earlier today. Judge S. Allen Alexander ordered that Curtis remain in custody until a grand jury issues an expected indictment and a preliminary and detention hearing on April 29. If convicted, Curtis will face a maximum of 15 years in prison, $500,000 in fines and 3 years of supervised release.