Microbiologist says anthrax suspect was stalker
Saturday, August 9, 2008; 7:12 AM
BALTIMORE -- A microbiologist claims she was stalked for decades by Bruce Ivins, the suspect in the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001 who, according to court documents, was obsessed with the sorority she joined in college.
Nancy L. Haigwood and her former husband, Carl J. Scandella, also think Ivins may have wanted to get close to her when he moved in down the street from the couple in the suburbs of Washington in the early 1980s.
Ivins, an Army scientist, committed suicide last week as federal authorities prepared to charge him with killing five people by sending anthrax spores in the mail. The letters were dropped in a mailbox near a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority office in Princeton, N.J., and prosecutors have suggested Ivins chose that location because of its proximity to the office.
In another development, the Justice Department sent a letter to the lawyer for Steven Hatfill, another military scientist who was a colleague of Ivins, formally exonerating Hatfill after saying earlier this week that Ivins was the only suspect. In 2002, law enforcement officials called Hatfill a "person of interest" in the investigation, a claim that brought a lawsuit from Hatfill the following year.
The federal government awarded Hatfill $5.8 million to settle his violation of privacy lawsuit against the Justice Department earlier this year. Hatfill claimed the Justice Department violated his privacy rights by speaking with reporters about the case.
In the case of Haigwood, now the director of the Oregon National Primate Research Center, she said she suspected Ivins in the anthrax mailings as early as November 2001, when he e-mailed her, his immediate family and other scientists a photo of himself working with what he called "the now infamous 'Ames' strain" of anthrax, which was used in the attacks. She reported her suspicions to the FBI in 2002 and, at the behest of investigators, kept in touch with Ivins by e-mail and shared their correspondence with investigators.
Haigwood, 56, met Ivins in the late 1970s when he was doing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina, where she earned her doctorate. She was cordial to him, but she noticed that he took an unusual interest in her Kappa membership.
In the summer of 1982, Haigwood moved in with Scandella, then her fiancee, in a townhouse in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Montgomery Village. On Nov. 30 that year, Scandella awoke to find the Greek letters "KKG" spray-painted on the rear window of his car and on the sidewalk and fence in front of the home. Although a police report filed by Scandella does not mention any possible suspects, Haigwood quickly concluded that Ivins was responsible.
"My address wasn't published, and I only lived there a short while before Carl and I got married and moved out of state," Haigwood said Friday. "No one knew my address or my phone number. You had to stalk me to figure this stuff out."
Records show that Ivins was living on the same street, about a block away, shortly after the incident. It was not clear when he moved in. Scandella did not know that Ivins had been their neighbor until he was told Friday by a reporter.
"I was blown away by that," Scandella said. "I had no idea he lived anywhere in the vicinity ... I wonder if it's possible that Ivins moved to that location to be close to Nancy."
Soon after the vandalism, Haigwood bumped into Ivins _ she doesn't remember where _ and accused him.