Anthrax widow speaks out

By Lindsay Cohen email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - They know who. They are trying to figure out why. But what they really want to know is how.

How did a man with access to deadly biological weapons go so long without being caught? That's what the widow of anthrax victim Robert Stevens wants to know.

"We've been through so much. It's been seven years, and it's been really hell at times," said Maureen Stevens, Bob Stevens' widow.

Stevens was a photo editor at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton when a letter containing anthrax crossed his desk. Stevens died in October 2001, becoming the first of five victims to die in the anthrax attacks.

Seven years later, the FBI is considering its case solved but not closed. Authorities laid out their investigation for Stevens and other anthrax victims' family members Wednesday.

Stevens says the briefing showed her beyond any reasonable doubt that Army researcher Bruce Ivins was the mastermind behind the anthrax scare.

Ivins committed suicide last week before the federal government could charge him in the case. Ivins' attorney maintains his client's innocence.

"I would have preferred to have him tried and found guilty. I really would have done that and found out why," Stevens said. "I mean, the man was unbalanced. I would have liked to know just why."

Stevens and her attorney, Richard Schuler, also asked the question Thursday about why a man the government considered mentally unstable had access to deadly materials.

"One of the people that worked at the [government] laboratory told me they have better security at a 7-Eleven than they did at the laboratory where they had one of the most dangerous substances known to mankind," Schuler said.

Stevens' lawsuit against the federal government remains in the appeal process. Her attorney says the Stevens family hasn't yet considered suing Ivins' family.