Woman who opened suspicious letter speaks out

By: Ethan Hutchins Email
By: Ethan Hutchins Email

DURANT,OK -- The woman who opened the suspicious letter Monday morning at the Bryan County Courthouse speaks out.

Shell Williams works at the Bryan County Court Clerks office. She says it was a typical day until she opened the letter Monday afternoon.

"I saw the powder and I just scooted back from my desk and went to wash my hands." said Williams.

A complete quarantine of courthouse employees and personnel followed as Hazmat crews from Ardmore and Norman, the FBI, sheriff's deputies, and EMT's all arrived in downtown Durant.

Williams says she saw nothing strange about the letter at first.

"The envelope looked like any other piece of mail that we get." said Williams.

Until she unfolded pieces of notebook paper inside the envelope with a powdery substance inside along with a letter and a message.

"The note said God be with you." said Williams.

"I left for lunch and when I came back it was all roped off and they wouldn't let us come back upstairs." said Donna Alexander.

Bryan County Court Clerk Donna Alexander has worked in the office for almost 30 years. She says this is a first.

"It is shocking that someone would do that to us." said Alexander.

The courthouse was on lockdown for nearly eight hours as law enforcement decontaminated dozens of people who had come in contact with the unidentified substance.

The letter had originally been sent to the courthouse annex across the street and had sat in the county clerk's office since Friday until the county clerks office gave it to the court clerks office that morning.

County Clerk Tammy Reynolds says once the letter was opened everything was on lockdown.

"I got a call from the sheriff that they wanted us to close the annex, nobody in, nobody out." said Reynolds.

And for Williams, she says through the whole ordeal, she wasn't scared and leaned on her faith.

"I just felt okay, that whatever happened, that God was in control." said Williams.


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