Some points to consider about the following story:
!. It broke on a Friday
2.The death is suspicious
3.The trail ends here
4.The suspect was a faithful government employee for 18 years
5. The investigation originally focused on the wrong person until after FBI director Robert Mueller changed leadership of the investigation in 2006.
Anthrax Suspect Dead in Apparent Suicide
Federal grand jury was preparing to indict Maryland bioweapons expert Bruce E. Ivins for his role in 2001 anthrax attacks, sources say.
Carrie Johnson, Del Quentin Wilber and Carol Leonnig | 10:27 a.m. ET
The newspaper identified the man as Bruce Ivins, 62, and said he had worked for the last 18 years at government biodefence research laboratories in Maryland. It quoted people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation.
It said Ivins had been informed of his impending prosecution shortly before his death on Tuesday after swallowing a massive dose of pain killers.
The anthrax was sent through the mail to media organizations and politicians shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The attacks killed five people, crippled national mail service, shut down a Senate office building and spread fear of further terrorism.
Viewed as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins helped the FBI analyze materials recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator's office in Washington, the newspaper said. (Reporting by Alan Elsner)
Anthrax attack suspect found dead
A top US biodefence researcher committed suicide just before being charged over the anthrax mailings that traumatised America after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The scientist, Bruce E Ivins, 62, who had worked for the past 18 years at the US government's biodefence labs at Fort Detrick, Maryland, had been told about the impending prosecution.
The laboratory was at the centre of the FBI's investigation of the anthrax attacks, which killed five people. Ivins died of a drug overdose on Tuesday at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland.
Henry Heine, a scientist who worked with Ivins on inhalation anthrax research at Fort Detrick, said he and others on their team have testified before a federal grand jury in Washington that has been investigating the anthrax mailings for more than a year.
Ivins was the co-author of numerous anthrax studies, including one on a treatment for inhalation anthrax published in the July 7 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Last month, the US government exonerated another scientist at the Fort Detrick lab, Steven Hatfill, who had been identified by the FBI as a "person of interest" in the anthrax attacks.
The government paid Mr Hatfill 5.82 million dollars (£2.9 million) to settle a lawsuit he filed against the Justice Department in which he claimed the department violated his privacy rights by speaking to reporters about the case.
Federal investigators moved away from Mr Hatfill and concluded Ivins was the culprit after FBI director Robert Mueller changed leadership of the investigation in 2006.
The new investigators instructed agents to re-examine leads and reconsider potential suspects. In the meantime, investigators made progress in analysing anthrax powder recovered from letters addressed to two US senators.
Besides the five deaths, 17 people were made ill by anthrax that was posted to politicians on Capitol Hill and members of the news media in New York and Florida just weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The victims included postal workers and others who came into contact with the anthrax. (AP)