By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal
After an ordeal that has left him shaken and sleepless, Kevin Curtis said, “This is a story about me being vindicated.”
The recent story about an Elvis tribute artist accused of sending ricin to high-ranking officials because they ignored claims he uncovered a conspiracy at North Mississippi Medical Center to illegally harvest and sell organs and other body parts took a turn last week when charges were dropped against 45-year-old Curtis.
The latest development in the investigation indicates officials now believe a Tupelo taekwondo instructor and former political candidate James Everett Dutschke, a longtime rival of Curtis, was involved.
Dutschke, 41, was arrested early Saturday morning at his Tupelo home and charged with making and sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
After a week-long ordeal that resulted in the Corinth man being arrested, shackled, jailed and later released, Curtis is keeping quiet on Dutschke’s arrest. But, he is unsure about how the tagline he often uses, “This is KC and I approve this message,” wound up on the poisoned letters.
Curtis did not want to say whether or not he believes Dutschke is guilty.
“At this point,” Curtis said, “I am going to refrain from giving you my personal opinion.”
“He’s had some type of vendetta against me for years,” he said. Adding that Dutschke is “very interesting, very shady” and “very mysterious.”
The two first started interacting when Curtis said Dutschke sent a copy of a newspaper he had published to him through a waitress at Applebee’s in Tupelo. Curtis said the waitress told him Dutschke was interested in publishing his story about NMMC and that Dutschke wanted Curtis to contact him.
The two men have both acknowledged later arguing over the matter at a Tupelo restaurant, though the two accounts differ.
“He definitely entered my circle, I did not enter his,” Curtis said. He said Dutschke also started following him on MySpace and they worked together for the same insurance company.
Curtis said Dutschke once attempted to engage him in political discussion about Curtis’ bumper sticker that at the time read “Christian and Democrat.” He said Dutschke, unannounced, leaned up against his office doorway and said, “Please tell me you’re not a Democrat.”
“At that point, I feel the friction starting to brew,” Curtis said of the encounter. “I don’t know what, but I know its personal.”
Over the years, Curtis has claimed Dutschke, also a musician, purposefully kept him from getting work by informing event sponsors of his arrest history. Dutschke questioned that claim on the Daily Journal website, but did not return any calls to follow up.
In the past, Curtis has rarely shied away from speaking his mind and said doing so has come at great personal expense.
“I’m so honest that I will say things that hurt my family,” he said.
A self-described conspiracy theorist, Curtis has claimed for over a decade that he discovered body parts and organs wrapped in plastic while doing custodial work at NMMC and has even written a book on what he calls the day that changed his life forever.
Friends and family have said that Curtis is bipolar and as a result, experiences paranoia.
“Have I been depressed in the last 13 years? Yeah,” he said and admitted personal trauma has taken its toll.
Curtis said he has sought answers to “learn why I was changing. Why I was turning into this paranoid 35-year-old man.” But, “right now, I want to get back to music.”
He said he also wants to rekindle personal relationships, specifically with the host of WTVA’s morning show.
“I want to reconnect with Kay Bain,” he said.
“I think it is best that I put the body parts issue on the backburner. I am willing to let go of my activism work.”
He said that he wants to refocus his priorities – “My family needs me, my children need a father.”
Curtis said after a recent media junket in New York, he has been invited to appear on several national news shows including Glen Beck and Dr. Phil and has received an email from celebrity plaintiffs attorney Erin Brockovich.
Still, Curtis seemed remiss to walk away from what he calls his “activism” work.
“Do I shut up? Do I not mention body parts ever again? Or do I keep maintaining my integrity to the truth?” he asked.