St. Charles Herald-Guide

Toothpaste forces evacuation of courthouse

By Jonathan Menard - July 29, 2013

The suspicious substance that forced the evacuation of the St. Charles Parish Courthouse was determined to be toothpaste.

The courthouse was evacuated at around 11 a.m. after staff in Judge M. Lauren Lemmon’s office received a letter from an inmate at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center in Killona. When a staff member opened the envelope, a white flaky substance was seen on the document.

“Due to the suspicious nature of the contents and in an abundance of caution, the courthouse was evacuated,” Capt. Pat Yoes, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.

An investigation following the envelope’s discovery determined that an inmate mailed two legal documents, one to Lemmon and a second letter to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The inmate had only one large envelope, so he cut it in half and sealed the envelope sent to Lemmon using toothpaste as a glue.

The Louisiana State Police and FBI conducted extensive testing and found there is no health threat. However, the courthouse will remain closed Monday and will reopen on Tuesday.

Toothpaste forces evacuation of courthouse