3 hours ago
[New York Times]
On the morning of Feb. 28, 2000, a man in a black hood ran up to Patrick Riley in front of his office, shot him flush in the face and fled.
The bullet missed his brain, and Mr. Riley, a biotechnology entrepreneur, survived. But two days later, his business partner, a doctor named Larry C. Ford, killed himself with a shotgun after learning he was suspected of being the mastermind behind the shooting.
That is where the story probably would have ended -- a lurid but ultimately local piece of intrigue played out in the sun-splashed Orange County sprawl -- had it not been for the phone calls that within hours began coming in to the police. Dr. Ford, the callers said, had left something behind: a cache of weapons and anthrax.
The local elementary school was closed. Forty-two families were evacuated from their homes in Dr. Ford's affluent neighborhood. Then police and federal investigators began to unearth evidence that Larry Ford had another life -- that he was not just a brilliant, if somewhat geeky, gynecologist who hoped to develop a device to protect women from AIDS.
Buried next to his swimming pool they found canisters containing machine guns and C-4 plastic explosives. In refrigerators at his home and office, next to the salad dressing and employee lunches, were 266 bottles and vials of pathogens -- among them salmonella, cholera, botulism and typhoid. The deadly poison ricin was stored, with a blowgun and darts, in a plastic bag in the family room. A compartment under the floorboards held medical files on 83 women.
What the searchers did not find was anthrax, and the fear of what remained unfound, along with dozens of other questions, set off investigations that ranged from Beverly Hills to South Africa and back to the Nevada desert.
Since then, pieces of Dr. Ford's other life have begun to emerge. Taken together, they form a troubling and confusing picture -- of a man with ties to racist, antigovernment groups in the United States who also developed a relationship with apartheid South Africa's secret biological and chemical weapons program, Project Coast.
Source: New York Times 2002 Article.