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Powder in envelope at Temple Square is nontoxic



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Preliminary results have come back on a suspicious white powder found at the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FBI officials say they aren't sure exactly what it is, but they know it's not toxic.

The FBI says the substance was tested for known hazardous biological agents and toxins, and all tests were negative. Lab tests will continue to determine exactly what the substance is, and those results are expected sometime next week.

Three employees inside the temple office were decontaminated as a precaution, and a hazardous material crew cleared the office of any possible contaminants.

Meanwhile, there was a similar letter with a powder which was received at the Los Angeles LDS temple within an hour of the Salt Lake incident. That powder was also determined to be harmless.

The FBI believes the letters sent to the Salt Lake Temple and the temple in Los Angeles are related.

"Where we believe there is a connection is quite obvious. The letters are received on the same day. They are similar, are both sent to temples. So, we do think there is a connection," explained Tim Fuhrman, Salt Lake's FBI special agent in charge.

The FBI is now looking for suspects of who may have been responsible for mailing the letters. There's no information on if the letters contained a message and what that message may have been; however, we do know the letter came from out of state.

"When we get to the bottom of it, if we want to advise the public what was there, we will do that. We obviously have been very successful in doing that in previous cases. But for now, we're not going to comment whether there was a return address or a threat or anything inside," Fuhrman said.

There are stiff federal penalties for making false threats like this and the FBI along with the U.S. Postal Service is trying to trace the letters.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com
E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

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Sam Penrod
    Marc Giauque

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