• October 22, 2020

A Utah woman pleads guilty to buying biological substance in a dark web to harm a roommate

A Utah woman pleads guilty to numerous charges after police say she purchased a biological agent from the dark web to damage her former roommate.

Court documents say Janie Lynn Ridd faced charges of aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, a second-degree felony, attempted abuse of a vulnerable adult, a third-degree felony, and attempted possession of a biological agent felony that was senile.

Ridd purchased Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is a strain of Staphylococcus, which is resistant to the antibiotic called vancomycin. VRSA can lead to illness in skin infections to severe invasive diseases. It can lead to pneumonia or septicemia or even death, court records state.

Police say Ridd went into the dark web to buy VRSA. She promised to be a biology teacher in a college preparatory school in Utah and said she wanted the biologic agent for a science experiment on antibiotic resistance.

Authorities confirmed Ridd isn’t a biology teacher and doesn’t”work with any or possess means to manage such biological substances” in her previous job.

“When the seller advised the defendant that VRSA could be obtained for scientific study through more legitimate sources, the defendant chose to pursue the purchase from the seller, offering to cover overnight shipping to acquire the VRSA quicker,” court record states.

In December 2019, Ridd bought VRSA from the seller for $300 worth of bitcoin and supplied her home address in Holladay for the shipping label.

Records suggest two other people lived at that identical house: the victim, Rachel, and her son.

According to a Salt Lake City police record, Ridd took good care of her roommate, who had been on disability when recovering from several surgeries.

“The defendant has control over roommate’s financing and private documents,” court records state. “The defendant earns a salary as Roommate’s caretaker. Other state records indicate that the defendant is respite/relief caregiver for the roommate’s child.”

Police state Ridd and Rachel’s “hostile” relationship compelled the woman to apply for a protective order against Ridd and gain her son’s temporary custody. Three days later, the protective order was lifted, and Ridd regained custody of the boy.

Court documents state Ridd emotionally and physically abused her roommate and her son.

On Dec. 17, 2019, representatives delivered a bundle with artificial VRSA to Ridd in her mailbox. Ridd picked up the package the following day, drove into a parking lot where she idled at the car for a moment, then drove to her job.

Agents reported seeing the bundle in Ridd’s car when she moved to work, where they afterward made contact and asked her questions about the VRSA.

Initially, Ridd said she purchased coffee from an internet supply company for $300. Shortly after, she confessed to lying about the coffee and said the package contained a”biological that she’d arranged online form the dark web to generate beer at home in the basement,” court records state.

Ridd then said she arranged a kind of”staph” for”experimental purposes to satisfy a personal curiosity she’d stemming from her roommate’s recent vulnerability to MRSA,” an identical biological agent.

Ridd claimed she desired to keep the staph in her garage but didn’t have the correct equipment to experiment.

Court documents state Ridd confessed to ordering the VRSA in the dark web marketplace and some other items to run experiments.

She promised to be”best friends” with Rachel for 25 years, and she had custody of Rachel’s son if she died. They also had life insurance policies, with each being the beneficiary for another.

Ridd said she became angry in October 2019 when Rachel needed her niece to become her son’s legal guardian.

At the close of the interview, Ridd was detained, and three tablets were found in her pocket. Ridd said they belonged to her roommate, but did not say why she had them, court records say.

Authorities served a search warrant in Ridd’s house and spoke with her roommate in December. Rachel said after her throat operation in March 2019, an MRSA infection was discovered from the wound.

Rachel remembered an alarming conversation with Ridd into the representatives. She said after watching a true crime tv series in March, Ridd allegedly said she believed the best way to kill somebody and get away with it is to inject an individual with insulin.

Three months later, Rachel had two distinct episodes of”harmful sugar levels” She was transported to the hospital. Rachel doesn’t have diabetes and doesn’t take insulin, according to court records.

Agents discovered Ridd bought insulin in September 2019 from a seller on the dark web.

While hunting the Holladay house, agents found several hypodermic needles that didn’t belong to Rachel.

She stated before one of her surgeries in October 2019, she and Ridd got into a fight about needing to change her will. Ridd reportedly tried to locate the record in the secure, but it wasn’t there. While hunting Ridd’s car in December 2019, agents discovered a copy of Rachel’s will.

After her operation in October 2019, Rachel developed three distinct golf ball-sized infections on the wound. One tested positive for E. coli. He surgeon told researchers that the infection did not come in the surgery and”should have been recovered,” court documents state.

Attorney General Sean Reyes and Assistant Attorney General Michael Gadd recommended Monday that Ridd be sentenced to one to 15 years’ imprisonment and not be eligible for parole until Fall 2028, according to a sentencing memo filed in the Third District Court.

Ridd purchased Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is a strain of Staphylococcus, which is resistant to the antibiotic called vancomycin. VRSA can lead to illness in skin infections to severe invasive diseases. It can lead to pneumonia or septicemia or even death, court records state.

Police say Ridd went into the dark web to buy VRSA. She promised to be a biology teacher in a college preparatory school in Utah and said she wanted the biologic agent for a science experiment on antibiotic resistance.

Authorities confirmed Ridd isn’t a biology teacher and doesn’t”work with any or possess means to manage such biological substances” in her previous job.

“When the seller advised the defendant that VRSA could be obtained for scientific study through more legitimate sources, the defendant chose to pursue the purchase from the seller, offering to cover overnight shipping to acquire the VRSA quicker,” court record states.

In December 2019, Ridd bought VRSA from the seller for $300 worth of bitcoin and supplied her home address in Holladay for the shipping label.

Records suggest two other people lived at that identical house: the victim, Rachel, and her son.

According to a Salt Lake City police record, Ridd took good care of her roommate, who had been on disability when recovering from several surgeries.

“The defendant has control over roommate’s financing and private documents,” court records state. “The defendant earns a salary as Roommate’s caretaker. Other state records indicate that the defendant is respite/relief caregiver for the roommate’s child.”

Police state Ridd and Rachel’s”hostile” relationship compelled the woman to apply for a protective order against Ridd and gain her son’s temporary custody. Three days later, the protective order was lifted, and Ridd regained custody of the boy.

Court documents state Ridd emotionally and physically abused her roommate and her son.

On Dec. 17, 2019, representatives delivered a bundle with artificial VRSA to Ridd in her mailbox. Ridd picked up the package the following day, drove into a parking lot where she idled at the car for a moment, then drove to her job.

Agents reported seeing the bundle in Ridd’s car when she moved to work, where they afterward made contact and asked her questions about the VRSA.

Initially, Ridd said she purchased coffee from an internet supply company for $300. Shortly after, she confessed to lying about the coffee and said the package contained a”biological that she’d arranged online form the dark web to generate beer at home in the basement,” court records state.

Ridd then said she arranged a kind of”staph” for”experimental purposes to satisfy a personal curiosity she’d stemming from her roommate’s recent vulnerability to MRSA,” an identical biological agent.

Ridd claimed she desired to keep the staph in her garage but didn’t have the correct equipment to experiment.

Court documents state Ridd confessed to ordering the VRSA in the dark web marketplace and some other items to run experiments.

She promised to be “best friends” with Rachel for 25 years, and she had custody of Rachel’s son if she died. They also had life insurance policies, with each being the beneficiary for another.

Ridd said she became angry in October 2019 when Rachel needed her niece to become her son’s legal guardian.

At the close of the interview, Ridd was detained, and three tablets were found in her pocket. Ridd said they belonged to her roommate, but did not say why she had them, court records say.

Authorities served a search warrant in Ridd’s house and spoke with her roommate in December. Rachel said after her throat operation in March 2019, an MRSA infection was discovered from the wound.

Rachel remembered an alarming conversation with Ridd into the representatives. She said after watching a true crime tv series in March, Ridd allegedly said she believed the best way to kill somebody and get away with it is to inject an individual with insulin.

Three months later, Rachel had two distinct episodes of”harmful sugar levels” She was transported to the hospital. Rachel doesn’t have diabetes and doesn’t take insulin, according to court records.

Agents discovered Ridd bought insulin in September 2019 from a seller on the dark web.

While hunting the Holladay house, agents found several hypodermic needles that didn’t belong to Rachel.

She stated before one of her surgeries in October 2019, she and Ridd got into a fight about needing to change her will. Ridd reportedly tried to locate the record in the secure, but it wasn’t there. While hunting Ridd’s car in December 2019, agents discovered a copy of Rachel’s will.

After her operation in October 2019, Rachel developed three distinct golf ball-sized infections on the wound. One tested positive for E. coli. He surgeon told researchers that the infection did not come in the surgery and”should have been recovered,” court documents state.

Attorney General Sean Reyes and Assistant Attorney General Michael Gadd recommended Monday that Ridd be sentenced to one to 15 years’ imprisonment and not be eligible for parole until Fall 2028, according to a sentencing memo filed in the Third District Court.

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