Police suspect arsenic poisoning in scientist's death

PoliceOne Staff Report
(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Police inspectors are pointing to arsenic poisoning to explain the death of Eric Miller, a scientist working at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Cancer Center, it was reported.

Miller died on the morning of Dec. 3 in the Rex Hospital.

Police searched his home for clues that would explain the cause of death.

A leading toxicologist at Duke University, Dr. Woodhall Stopford, told WRAL-TV that arsenic poisoning is extremely rare.

"At most, I can think of two case in 30 odd years as a clinician," Stopford said, adding that the substance can still be found in common household products such as rat poison and herbicides.

"In small amounts, you wouldn't know you were being poisoned, you're chronically ill," Stopford told the broadcast news. "Often you have symptoms of a cold, sneezing, swelling around your eyelids. It lingers on and on and on. You just don't get better."

Stopford added that accidental poisoning from arsenic in the water supply though very rare is still possible.

North Carolina law mandates that hospitals report arsenic poisoning to the police, according to the report.

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