By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
ITAWAMBA COUNTY – For a brief period Thursday it was reported that James Everett Dutschke, a Tupelo man being investigated by the FBI in the ricin letters case, was being sought by the FBI but his attorney assured that was not the case.
Dutschke, 41, of Tupelo, became a person of interest in the federal case investigating ricin-laced letters that were sent April 8 to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland after another man, Kevin Curtis of Corinth was cleared of charges in the case.
Thursday afternoon, some news media outlets reported Dutschke was sought by the FBI, but his attorney, Lori Nail Basham, said she had been in contact with Dutschke and reported his whereabouts to the FBI. She said they were “satisfied” with his location.
Kirk Kitchens said he took Dutschke to a house owned by his father north of Mantachie and then walked him back out to Highway 371 through the woods to get the media off Dutschke’s back.
“Basically, since the FBI didn’t have a warrant for him or want him, I took him down to the house because the media was following us around,” Kitchens said. “I believe he is 100 percent innocent and I wouldn’t have been helping him if I thought otherwise.”
Kitchens knows Dutschke because his 13-year-old son took taekwondo from him for seven years.
Itawamba County sheriff’s deputies staked out the Twenty Mile Bottom Road house Wednesday night and then searched it just after noon Thursday.
Sheriff Chris Dickenson said they received reports Dutschke was in the Twenty Mile Bottom Road house Wednesday night with another man but left before they arrived.
Dickenson said they staked out the area at the request of the FBI, who he reported was keeping on eye on Dutschke while they investigate him and briefly lost track of his whereabouts.
Dickenson said they searched the home just after noon to put local residents at ease and assure them no one was hiding out on the property.
Melvin Kitchens, Kirk Kitchens’ dad, lives in Pontotoc but went to the residence on Thursday when contacted by authorities.
Melvin said he knew nothing of Dutschke being in his house Wednesday night.