Police: Ricin found inside Las Vegas apartment during death investigation


    Police say they found small amounts of ricin in an apartment during a death investigation on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (KSNV)

    Authorities found the poisonous substance ricin during a death investigation that resulted in a lockdown at a Las Vegas apartment Tuesday, according to police.

    Deputy Chief Christopher Darcy said officers responded Tuesday to an apartment complex on Retablo Avenue, near Flamingo Road and Decatur Boulevard, on a report of a person who appeared to be dead.

    While inside the apartment, investigators found a bag containing beans labeled "red castor beans," Darcy said at a press conference.

    The area around the apartment was shut down, and after further inspection from the coroner's office, the department's ARMOR unit and the city's HAZMAT team responded as well.

    The Centers for Disease Control confirmed Wednesday morning that a substance found in the apartment was ricin, Darcy said.

    The ricin found was not airborne, he said, and health officials confirmed there is no danger to the public. Darcy described the amount as negligible and said it was found as both a powder and a wet, mash-like substance.

    Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans, according to the CDC, and it can be deadly depending on exposure.

    Nobody has reported any symptoms of ricin poisoning or exposure, Darcy said, and there is no evidence suggesting there could be more of the poison.

    The man found dead has been identified as Matthew Friedman, 36. Darcy said officers also found heroin and what appears to be a suicide note inside the apartment.

    Friedman was the owner of an audio-visual company.

    His neighbor, Summer Lark lived below him and considered him a good friend.

    "It was kind of heart breaking. I mean my kids played with him, everyone. He was a decent guy," Lark said.

    The coroner's office will conduct an autopsy to determine Friedman's exact cause of death.

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