Experts say a new piece of key information could help solve the case of the notorious mushroom deaths.
Police searched the home of Erin Patterson with sniffer dogs in Leongatha, in Victoria's Gippsland region, Australia, on Thursday, months after she cooked a deadly beef wellington pie. Heather Wilkinson, 66, along with couple Gail Patterson and Don Patterson, both 70, all died after eating poisonous mushrooms in the dish on July 29.
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Daily Mail reported that the meet up was intended as a reconciliation lunch in a bid for Erin Patterson to mend ties with her estranged husband Simon, who pulled out at the last minute according to a friend.
Patterson, the cook of the meal, denies all wrongdoing. All three of the deceased as well as a fourth man in hospital all showed symptoms consistent with eating a particular type of deadly mushroom – the death cap.
The detectives at the property were supposedly using ‘technology detection dogs’ that were spotted around the rear deck of the house. These animals are specialised in finding electronic devices, such as USBs or hidden phones and laptops.
Speaking to Sunrise, Tim Watson-Munro says they were trying to find evidence of devices that might support the investigation.
“As I understand it these are tech dogs trained to sniff out sim cards, USB's and all the rest of it.
“It may be that there's evidence on those items that will be of benefit to the prosecution, I'd assume that's why they've done it.”
Patterson was arrested on Thursday before police entered and searched the property for evidence. The dogs can sense tiny devices that could potentially be hidden behind walls or under floorboards.
After being taken away, Patterson was questioned for five hours at her local police station, Wonthaggi. Police then announced that she had been charged later that evening at 7.30pm.
Watson-Munro said “She'll be taken into custody, there may or may not be an application in the Supreme Court of Victoria to be released on bail in the future. She will then sit down with her lawyers and prepare her case and her defence.”
Patterson appeared in the LaTrobe Valley Magistrates Court on Friday. It is thought that she will now be kept behind bars until mid-next year as the court need 20 weeks to compile the briefing against her.
She was charged with three counts of murder along with five counts of attempted murder, including the murder of her estranged husband, Simon Patterson.
Patterson denies intentionally killing her in-laws and another relative in a suspected mushroom poisoning.
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