Suspicious package in Missouri Capitol contained rat poison

JEFFERSON CITY • A suspicious substance delivered to a senator’s office in the Missouri Capitol in April was rat poison, according to a final report issued by police in the capital city.

Although the April 19 incident was quickly declared non-threatening when it occurred, officials are planning to boost training on how to handle suspicious packages, as well as implement an emergency warning system that could work in similar circumstances.

In a note to Senate leaders sent Wednesday, Senate administrator Patrick Baker said, “After exhausting all leads Capitol Police were unable to determine the origination of the package.”

The package set off warning bells when aides to Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, noticed an unknown green substance in an envelope in her office.

They then carried it from her fourth floor suite to the Senate administrator’s office on the third floor where a team of firefighters in hazardous materials suits secured the contents.

Officials also closed the offices and the Capitol post office and put eight people who came near the letter under quarantine until the all clear was given.

The substance was deemed not harmful and the Senate gaveled into its morning session about 30 minutes late that day.

An investigation by Capitol police found that the letter had been postmarked in Springfield, Ill. But, investigators were unable to determine who sent it and which of several postal facilities in Illinois and Missouri it traveled through en route to the Capitol.

An analysis in the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab could detect no fingerprints, the police report notes.

Baker said the Senate plans to boost training for aides and other employees. A warning for suspicious packages will be added to a text-based emergency notification system that was already in the works for weather-related incidents and other events.  St-Louise Post-Dispatch