Arrest in suspected mushroom poisoning case in Australia | ET REALITY

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Three of four guests who attended a family lunch in a quiet rural Australian town died shortly afterwards, with symptoms that police said were consistent with mushroom poisoning. The fourth spent almost two months hospitalized, in critical condition.

The case has shocked the nation and given rise to intense speculation. The woman who cooked the food has always steadfastly maintained her innocence. On Thursday, three months after the lunch in question, police detained her for further questioning.

Erin Patterson, 49, hosted the lunch on July 29 at her home in Leongatha, Victoria state. In attendance were Gail and Don Patterson, the parents of her ex-husband, as well as Gail Patterson’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, and her brother-in-law, Ian Wilkinson.

The four guests, aged between 60 and 70, fell ill shortly after the meal. Mr. Patterson, Mrs. Patterson and Mrs. Wilkinson died a week after the lunch. Mr Wilkinson eventually recovered and was discharged from hospital in late September.

His symptoms, police said at the time, were consistent with poisoning by the death mushroom, one of the deadliest varieties of mushrooms, found in Victoria and other parts of Australia.

Ms. Patterson has consistently denied any wrongdoing. In August, through tears, she told local media that she “didn’t do anything, she loved them.”

She was arrested on Thursday morning, Victoria Police said in a statement. statement, as part of authorities’ “ongoing investigation” into the deaths. She has not been charged.

Police are searching his house and using dogs to hunt down items such as USB sticks and SIM cards. After the search, police will question Ms Patterson, Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said at a news conference in Melbourne on Thursday.

The arrest, he said, “is just the next step in what has been a complex and exhaustive investigation.”

He added that the investigation “has been subject to incredibly intense levels of public scrutiny and curiosity. “I can’t think of another investigation that has generated this level of public and media interest.”

In a statement provided to police in August, which was obtained by local mediaMs Patterson said she had prepared a meal of beef Wellington that day, using fresh mushrooms bought from a local supermarket and dried mushrooms bought from an Asian grocer in Melbourne, which is about 85 miles northwest of Leongatha.

He said he also ate beef Wellington that day. The next day, his two children ate leftovers for lunch, she said, but added that he took the mushrooms out of their portions because they don’t like them.

Ms Patterson said she had also been hospitalized after lunch with severe stomach pains and diarrhoea, but was given “liver-protective medication”.

In her statement, Ms Patterson said she had dumped a food dehydrator in a landfill.

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