Cyanide Confirmed in Denver

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Denver police have confirmed that the substance found in a hotel with a dead Somali Muslim was cyanide—a lot of it.

DENVER — Police confirmed Wednesday that they found about a pound of sodium cyanide in a Denver hotel room where the body of a Canadian man was discovered earlier this week.

Police spokesman John White identified the white powder as sodium cyanide, the crystal form of cyanide. Fire officials say they found a bottle containing about a pound of the white powder, or between a pint and a quart by volume. An expert told the Denver Post that the amount of cyanide is enough to kill hundreds of people.

The medical examiner’s office said it is awaiting test results to determine whether cyanide killed 29-year-old Saleman Abdirahman Dirie, of Ottawa, Canada. His body was found Monday inside Room 408 at The Burnsley Hotel, which is about four blocks from the state Capitol. White said Dirie had been dead for several days. Friends told The Ottawa Sun that he was dead six days before he was discovered.

Foul play is not suspected and his death appears to be an isolated incident, White said. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is assisting in the investigation but FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright said the incident has no apparent connection to terrorism.

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