Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick and a suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks, took his own life in July 2008.
Shortly after, the FBI brought charges against Ivins, who they said was responsible for five deaths and 17 hospitalizations caused by the attacks.
"The relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo takes its toll in different ways on different people," said an August 2008 statement from Rockville attorney Paul Kemp who represented Ivins. "In Dr. Ivins' case, it led to his untimely death."
Ivins was never convicted.
In the weeks leading up to Ivins' death, he faced allegations that he had made homicidal and violent threats.
Jean Duley, who told the court she had been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury, filed for a peace order against Ivins on July 24.
Ivins was also taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital, and later Baltimore psychiatric hospital Sheppard Pratt Health System, after he was removed from Fort Detrick during a welfare check on July 10.
In September 2008, FBI Director Robert Mueller III was scheduled to appear before Congress to discuss the assertion that Ivins was responsible for the attacks.
Prior to Mueller’s appearance, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) sent him a list of questions, which included why Ivins kept security clearance for two years after he became the prime suspect in the case.
At the time, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said in an email statement that he didn’t believe that scientists at the USAMRIID could have created the anthrax used in the attacks.
In mid-September, Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee that he requested that the National Academy of Sciences review the science the FBI used in their investigation.
Mueller said he requested the review because questions had been brought up about whether Ivins would have had access to the type of anthrax that was used in the attacks.
On Sept. 24, court documents were unsealed that revealed that Ivins had emailed himself in 2007 saying he knew who had carried out the attacks.
At the end of October, Fort Detrick released Ivins’ personnel file.
In 2011, a National Research Council committee said “it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the origins of the anthrax in letters mailed to New York City and Washington, D.C., based solely on the available scientific evidence."
The Department of Justice stood by their belief that Ivins was the perpetrator of the attacks.
In October, outside investigators said security gaps at the lab prosecutors said the anthrax came from meant that the spores could have been snuck out.
Two years later, scientists who worked with Ivins said he couldn’t have created the amount of spores needed to carry out the attacks based on the equipment and time available to him at the USAMRIID.
In 2014, a federal watchdog’s findings about the investigation of the attacks prompted an overhaul of the FBI’s bioforensics methods.
According to a Government Accountability Office report, when the FBI was investigating the attacks they did not have a framework that could standardize its genetic testing process and provide confident statistical results.
Detrick researchers reported promising results in their quest to create an anthrax vaccine in 2016.
Today, an anthrax vaccine does exist but it is not generally available to the public.