Update on Marquette County nerve agent "hoax"

It was not a hoax or a threat, but rather a drug-related incident that led to the dispatch of emergency personnel to Bell Hospital in Ishpeming Thursday evening.

The Marquette County Sheriff’s Department is continuing the investigation into the incident.

Captain David Lemire tells ABC 10 that Bell Hospital staff received a call at about 7:45 p.m. that a woman was bringing a 23 year old man to the hospital.  The caller said they were coming from a camp that had been exposed to a possible World War Two nerve agent.

Bell Hospital initiated lock down procedures and prepared to conduct decontamination operations.  As a precaution, Marquette General Hospital was notified and also initiated  a lockdown.

The Poison Control Center was able to provide a cell number for the woman who had called.  Bell EMS staff called the woman, who claimed the victim had been taken to Marquette General.  That was not true.

Lemire says the investigation has revealed the situation to be neither a hoax nor a threat: but is related to a methamphetamine lab.  He says the 23 year old man may have been exposed to – and ingested fumes from – a meth lab earlier in the week.

Police believe fear of being suspected for meth use led the woman to call Poison Control on behalf of the man.  The story of ‘nerve agent exposure’ was apparently created to conceal the meth involvement.

Authorities have made contact with the alleged victim.  He did not require medical attention.

According to the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department, this is an isolated incident. The investigation into the incident is active and will be reviewed by the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office.   The incident Thursday, police say, is not related to the bomb threats that occurred in Marquette County September 21.  A separate investigation is continuing into that incident.

Assisting agencies Thursday night included Bell EMS, Ishpeming City Fire Department, Ishpeming Police Department, Marquette County Sheriff Rescue 131, Marquette City Police, Michigan State Police and Northern Michigan University Public Safety.