Australian Woman Under Investigation After Meal With Poisonous Mushroom Killed Her 3 Former In-Laws

Death Cap Mushrooms
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Erin Patterson has not been charged in the deaths.

An Australian woman is under investigation after she allegedly cooked a meal for former in-laws leading to three of them dying and another hospitalized after cops said the food had poisonous mushrooms. The woman who made the cuisine was said to be fine, according to reports.

Erin Patterson, 48, of Victoria, Australia, has been interviewed by police and is under investigation as authorities haven’t ruled out nefarious activity, New York Post reported.

She was released “pending further inquiries,” police said, according to USA Today.

Three of Erin’s former in-laws died after eating the meal on July 29, according to reports. Erin did not experience visible symptoms after the lunch.

Erin’s former mother-in-law, Gail Patterson, 70, and Gail’s sister, Heather, 66, died Friday while Erin’s former father-in-law Don, 70, died the following day, New York Post reported.

Gail’s husband, Ian, 68, is awaiting a liver transplant while in critical condition, according to BBC.

Erin, 48, was previously married to the Pattersons’ son, Simon, New York Post reported.

Police executed a search warrant and seized items for forensic testing, USA Today reported.

“Investigators executed a search warrant at a residence in Leongatha,” police said, according to USA Today.

Earlier this week, Erin was interviewed by reporters outside her home and maintained her innocence.

“I didn’t do anything," Erin told reporters. “I loved them and I’m devastated they’re gone.”

Erin has been asked by reporters what meal she made her former relatives and she did not answer, according to CNN.

The woman, who is separated from her husband, was hosting her in-laws. Police said her children were home during the meal, but they did not eat the same food, CNN said.

At a press conference Monday Victoria Police Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said it wasn’t clear what type of mushrooms the victims had eaten, but their symptoms were consistent with those from a death cap mushroom, which are fatal to humans, CNN reported.  

Thomas said Patterson is a suspect because she cooked the meal and is the only adult at the lunch who didn’t fall ill.

Thomas also told reporters Erin had separated from her husband, Simon, and described their relationship as “amicable.”

“We have to keep an open mind in relation to this. It could be very innocent,” Thomas told reporters Monday. “But again, we just don’t know at this point … four people turn up and three of them pass away, with another one critical, so we have to work through this.”

Erin Patterson has not been charged in the deaths.

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