WASHINGTON – A new, previously unavailable DNA identification process led investigators to the Army scientist and alleged 2001 anthrax killer, who killed himself as authorities closed in on him, FOX News confirmed Sunday.
The same anthrax that killed the victims was found in abundance on the envelopes and letters the perpetrator sent just after the Sept. 11 attacks. The identification was made from those samples, with DNA samples taken from the victims to confirm.
A government scientist told the Associated Press Sunday that investigators started with DNA from some of those victims and matched specific DNA patterns to anthrax cultures that the suspect, Army scientist Bruce Ivins, 62, was responsible for in the lab.
This scientific technique took years to develop.
Ivins committed suicide last week as prosecutors prepared to indict him on murder charges for the death of five people in the attacks.
Details also emerged Sunday that Ivins was part of a multi-million-dollar deal to have his own vaccine mass produced in the wake of the anthrax attacks, The New York Post reported.
Ivins was reportedly the co-owner of a patent on what was seen as a cure to the threat.
Before the attacks, Ivin's vaccine was pretty much unnoticed. But the deadly post-9/11 mailings brought $50 billion in government funding to the field of bioterror prevention, The Post reported.
An $877.5 million contract was inked with biotech firm VaxGen to provide Ivins' vaccine in a deal in which he stood to profit, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A VaxGen executive told The Post that his company had no profit-sharing agreement with Ivins personally, and he had no knowledge of what arrangement Ivins had with his employers.
A former senior official at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases — the Maryland lab where Ivins worked for 36 years — believed he mailed the anthrax-laced letters to move government resources to his field.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.