Police test substance found by Ind. man's body

May 7, 2012 (HOBART, Ind.)

The body of 58-year-old Steven Weinbrenner was discovered by Weinbrenner's son in his Hobart home last Wednesday. He called police, who called in the Lake County Indiana hazmat team after discovering a bottle of potassium cyanide near his body.

"The officers were taken out of the area. The ones that actually went into the home were taken to Hobart emergency room and tested just to make sure," Detective Dave Evans, Hobart Police Department, said.

Some police and EMS personnel who were taken from the scene reported watery eyes and shortness of breath -- but were given the all clear by doctors. Neighbors say the investigation lasted into the early morning hours.

"Caution tape everywhere, hazmat suits, chemical pools set up, started evacuating the streets, couldn't leave for work," Kevin McCann, neighbor, said.

Hobart police say Weinbrenner's son said his father was a chemist and working as a private contractor in Afghanistan.

"He was home on leave for two weeks and was feeling a little depressed, not wanting to go back," Evans said.

Hazmat crews took the substance for testing to determine if it is in fact potassium cyanide. Hobart police say it's a substance that can't be easily obtained and are working with the FBI to track down where it came from.

"I don't really know a whole lot about it. It could be considered a weapon of mass destruction," Evans said.

Hobart police are calling this a death investigation and the coroner's office is waiting for toxicology results to determine the cause of Weinbrenner's death. Those results could take 4 to 6 weeks.

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