A woman has been arrested in connection with the deaths of three Australians who are believed to have died from mushroom poisoning, the Victoria Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
The arrest is the latest in a month-long investigation into the July deaths, which occurred after a party in the small town of Leongatha.
Police did not name the 49-year-old woman who was arrested.
Four people were hospitalized on July 30 after a family lunch at a Leongatha home.
Three of the guests: Gail Patterson, 70 years old; her husband, Don, 70; and her sister Heather Wilkinson, 66, died in a Melbourne hospital in the days after the lunch.
A fourth guest, Heather Wilkinson’s husband Ian, 69, was in hospital for weeks. Victoria Police said he was released on September 23.
Chef and host Erin Patterson and her two children were at the meal and neither of them got sick.
The Associated Press has reported that police believe the children were served a different meal than the rest of the group.
Patterson was released without charge pending further investigation in August. Police said at the time they searched his home and took items for testing.
“I didn’t do anything,” Patterson told reporters at the time. He added that the victims were “some of the best people I’ve ever known” and described his mother-in-law as “the mother I never had.”
She later said she was “devastated” by the deaths.
But he refused to answer questions about the mushrooms he served for lunch or their origin or about which guests received which meals.
At the time of the incident, police said the four guests were showing signs consistent with poisoning by death mushrooms, a particularly deadly variety, which Victoria’s health department says are “extremely poisonous” to humans and animals.