Health Officials Investigate Home Of OKC Murder-For-Hire Suspect

Monday, April 21st 2014, 7:29 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma City County Health department said it was directed by the FBI to put up a sign outside the home warning the public to stay away due to public health concerns.

"We were directed from the FBI to post a placard, which means its unfit for human habitation," Troy Scow, with the Oklahoma City County Health Department Consumer Protection Division, said.

4/19/2014 Related Story: Test Results Confirm Ricin Found In Murder-For-Hire Suspect's Home

Scow confirmed they did send one of their inspectors to Rhoad's house on Thursday night. The same night both Oklahoma City police officers and federal agents raided the house after getting a tip that the homeowner, Preston Rhoads, was planning a murder.

Scow won't confirm if Ricin, or a lab used to make Ricin, was indeed found inside the home, but he said the FBI would have put placards on other homes if they felt Rhoads neighbors were at risk.

For now, they just want people to stay away.

"We're trying to protect the public from going on the premises or within the house," said Scow. "If they do, they will be arrested for trespassing and it's just to protect them."

The concern was so great, the Oklahoma City Police Department shut down a gas station and a southwest city neighborhood on Friday afternoon to collect and process two police cruisers that had held and transported Rhoads to the county jail.

The officers involved also had to be hosed down as a precaution.

"We notified the hazardous materials units, and we notified the FBI as they are involved in this investigation also," Msgt. Gary Knight, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said.

"It's very, very scary that this can go on in our own neighborhoods," said Audrey Brasee, who lives in the neighborhood where the police car was towed. "Makes us wonder about our safety, that's for sure."

The FBI told us, despite that, there is absolutely no public health threat to be worried about.

We checked, and Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans but can be deadly if inhaled or ingested.

According to the CDC web site, it would take a deliberate act to make Ricin and use it to poison people, and unintentional exposure to Ricin is highly unlikely.

Right now, we don't know how long this sign will stay up at the house or when it will be cleaned up. Rhoads is being held without bond in the Oklahoma County Jail, accused of solicitation of murder. Details on the murder plot have not yet been released.