By Edward Mason
A Northeastern University lab tech’s suspected suicide by cyanide -- 30 miles away from campus -- is raising public safety fears over easy access to deadly chemicals days after the ninth anniversary of 9/11.
The 30-year-old NU lab tech -- identified by the school as Emily Staupe -- was found dead early yesterday morning in her Milford bedroom along with what initial tests show was a plastic bag filled with crystallized cyanide, according to Milford and state police.
Neil Livingstone, a Washington, D.C., terrorism expert, said Staupe’s apparent method of suicide shines a light on the problem of lax security at universities across the country.
"This should be a wake-up call," said Livingstone, president of ExecutiveAction. "What if her name were Mohammed Atta (a leader of the 9/11 plot) instead?
"If she’d been a bad guy and gotten hold of a significant amount of cyanide...who knows?" Livingstone said. "Cyanide is a good weapon of assassination or for killing a small number of people."
David Procopio, a spokesman for the state police, which is probing Staupe’s death, said it’s unclear how Staupe got the cyanide to Milford.