The Australian woman who served up a fatal mushroom lunch of Beef Wellington which apparently contained mushrooms to her former parents-in-law, which left three people dead, told police she purchased the mushrooms from a local shop, according to 7 News Australia, however there has been no recall or warning about mushrooms sold in that local area, in Victoria.
Victorian woman Erin Patterson, 48, served the deadly fungi to four people on July 29.
Erin’s ex-in-laws, Don and Gail Patterson, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson died after suffering symptoms consistent with poisoning by death cap mushroom.
Heather’s husband Ian, 68, is the only person still alive from the group who ate the meal and remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Over the weekend, police executed a search warrant at the property where Erin was interviewed before being released pending further inquiries.
7 News Australia has reported that it understands Erin told police during the interview that she purchased the mushrooms from a local shop in the Leongatha area in Victoria.
However, so far there has been no recall or any warnings given for any locally-purchased produce, according to 7 News Australia, raising suspicions over the information Erin had originally given police.
The latest interview revelation comes as a food dehydrator was reportedly found at the local rubbish tip. It is now being tested by police to see if it is linked to the incident.
A dehydrator is a device that removes moisture from food by heating and ventilating it. This can help to quickly and evenly dry the mushrooms and truffles, allowing you to store them for longer periods of time.
Veteran crime writer John Silvester, who has authored a number of best-selling books on crime in Melbourne, said he found one key element of the tragedy “slightly curious”.
“We’ve got the dehydrator from the house that was apparently found in the tip,” he told 3AW radio.
“It’s been reported the dehydrator was disposed of the day after the luncheon, which is slightly curious because the people had just presented to hospital with gastro-like symptoms.”
“I don’t think anybody at that point would be calling it a poisoning. People had got a bit crook.
“That’ll have to be tested to see whether or not it was operational, had it been tampered with, was it replaced or were there any remains within the dehydrator of death cap mushrooms.”
The ex-husband of a woman who hosted a poisonous lunch where four people fell ill – three of whom have since died – had been invited to the deadly lunch.
However, Simon Patterson had to pull out of the deadly lunch “at the last minute”, something that may have saved his life.
“Simon was supposed to go to the lunch but couldn’t make it at the last minute,” a friend of Simon told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
Simon refused to speak on the matter, but on social media last year revealed he nearly died from a mysterious gut illness that left him in a coma.
“I collapsed at home, then was in an induced coma for 16 days through which I had three emergency operations mainly on my small intestine, plus an additional planned operation,” he wrote in May 2022.
“My family were asked to come and say goodbye to me twice, as I was not expected to live.”
He was in intensive care for 21 days before starting to recover.
“I’ve been feeling great for many days. I feel no pain, and it all seems to have no impact on my personality, character or anything else much,” the post read.
Police have spoken to Erin Patterson and confirmed she is being investigated, but have said she could be “very innocent”, news.com.au reported.
Erin did not suffer any injuries and neither did her two children.
Police say those children have been removed from her care as a “precaution”.
“The 48-year-old is [a suspect] because she cooked those meals for those present. She hasn’t presented with any symptoms,” Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said.
“We have to keep an open mind. It could be very innocent, but we just don’t know at this point”.
Erin also spoke to media on Monday, outside the home where she served the fatal meal.
“I’m devastated, I loved them,” she said, appearing to be highly distressed.
“I can’t believe this has happened and I’m so sorry that they have lost their lives.
“I just can’t believe it.”