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CID agent sought puffer fish toxin before poisoning his wife, charges allege

An Army CID special agent is suspected of poisoning his wife two years ago and allegedly tried to acquire a toxin derived from puffer fish, Army Times has learned.

Staff Sgt. Lesly J. Lindor was formally charged this week with the Sept. 3, 2018, murder of his wife, 34-year-old Rachelle Lindor. The couple lived in Harker Heights, Texas, near the agent’s Fort Hood duty station. The murder investigation has not been previously reported.

Lindor attempted to acquire tetrodotoxin for use as a weapon in the months prior to his wife’s death, according to records obtained by Army Times. The substance is a potent neurotoxin found in puffer fish and some other marine species.

CID spokesman Chris Grey confirmed the murder charges against Lindor but declined to comment on whether investigators determined tetrodotoxin was used. Grey did note that Lindor allegedly ran afoul of laws prohibiting the possession of certain toxins — one of many charges against him.

In addition to the murder allegations, Lindor was charged by Fort Hood officials with stalking, attempting to violate a federal biological weapons statute, failure to obey a lawful order, failure to obey a general regulation, dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice.

Grey said he could not provide charge sheets at this time, citing the ongoing legal process.

Fort Hood has been in the news frequently over the past year following the slaying of Spc. Vanessa Guillen in an armory on post. An independent review sparked by Guillen’s case found that CID agents at Fort Hood were under-experienced and over-assigned.

But the investigation into Rachelle Lindor’s death offers another view of the CID detachment on post, one willing to investigate its own agents and pursue complicated homicide cases against them.

Lindor, who joined the Army in 2010 and became a CID agent in 2017, is now being placed in pre-trial confinement.

“He has not worked any CID investigations since October 2018,” Grey said.

The investigation started after Rachelle Lindor died off-post in Harker Heights. Obituaries announcing her passing shared few other details.

Initially, the Harker Heights Police Department was the lead investigative agency, but CID agents “became suspicious of the cause and manner of death” and continued an independent investigation, Grey said.

He declined to detail what exactly made the agents suspect foul play.

Lindor was placed on administrative duty one month after his wife’s death, removed from investigations and put into a support unit, according to Grey. Lindor was also on the sergeant first class select list in 2018, but promotion to that rank never occurred.

Whether tetrodotoxin was the poison used in this case, or if there was only an attempt to acquire it, is not clear.

The toxin can be more lethal to humans than cyanide. Poisonings have occurred when the flesh or organs of certain fish species are improperly prepared and eaten, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Tetrodotoxin interferes with the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles and causes paralysis in the body, including the muscles responsible for respiration. The substance can be fatal, with death occurring as early as 20 minutes or as late as 24 hours after exposure.

Lindor did not respond to a request for comment made to one of his social media accounts. The soldier has a limited online footprint, but has garnered favorable reviews from those who have stayed at his Harker Heights home and interacted with him through his Airbnb profile.

“It is important to point out the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Grey said in a statement.

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