Woman sentenced for allegedly buying biological weapon to kill roommate

Aug 24, 2020, 6:12 PM
Woman sentenced for allegedly buying biological weapon to kill roommate, victim speaks out...
(Rachel, right, with her attorney, speaking about the charges against long-term roommate Janie Ridd. Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Rachel, right, with her attorney, speaking about the charges against long-term roommate Janie Ridd. Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – A woman accused of trying to buy a biological weapon to use on her long-term roommate is sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.  The victim is breaking her silence and giving her side of the story.

Janie Lynn Ridd and her roommate, who only wants to be known as Rachel, have lived with each other for decades.  Rachel says Ridd was her only friend for a long time, and had even taken care of her son while she was going through health problems.  Rachel says she has had many surgeries on her spine over the years, and Ridd was always there to help her get better.

That is, until roughly three years ago.

(Rachel, left, and Janie Ridd, right. Courtesy, FBI)

Rachel says she and Ridd would fight, constantly, but the animosity started growing and Ridd appeared to become resentful when people would ask if they were a romantic couple and Rachel said “no.”  Despite their fighting, Rachell says Ridd was always adamant Rachel take her medications for her back problems, even if she didn’t need it.

“The first time I legitimately almost died that we know of was June of 2019,” Rachel says.

Investigators say Ridd would knock Rachel out with sedatives so she could inject harmful things into her system.  Rachel believes Ridd started with Xanax, but would eventually use more powerful medications like Ketamine.  While asleep, Rachel says her roommate would inject her with harmful doses of insulin or even E. coli. 

Rachel never really knew what was happening until the FBI knocked on her door.

She says, “They had to show me evidence before I would fully believe that she had done it.”

Federal investigators reportedly intercepted a shipment of Vacomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as VRSA, that Ridd had purchased off the dark web.  The bacteria can cause serious skin infections, pneumonia or even death, especially in an immunocompromised person like Rachel.  The charging documents state…

“The defendant claimed to be a biology teacher at a college preparatory school in Utah and needed the VRSA cultures for a science experiment.”

However, Rachel believes the bacteria was really meant for her,since other attempts on her life were not successful.

“She watched me suffer, and she doubled down and did it worse.  Instead of one injection of E. coli where I’d scream and writhe in pain, she did three when that didn’t kill me,” Rachel says.

Rachel says she’s on the road to recovery and has felt much better since Ridd’s arrest.  During the sentencing, Rachel told the judge Ridd robbed her of a life because of the constant stress and intense physical problems.  Rachel had been intensely focused on her own survival and she had few moments of peace or joy in her life.

Rachel had hoped to see signs of remorse in Ridd’s face, but claims she didn’t see any.

“I wanted her to care.  As I was reading my statement, I could see her and she didn’t care,” she says.

(Janie Ridd, Salt Lake County Jail)

Ridd received a sentence of up to five years for aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, and up to 15 years for attempted possession/use of a weapon of mass destruction.







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Woman sentenced for allegedly buying biological weapon to kill roommate