Roger Van Bergendorff, 57, has been comatose in critical condition at a Las Vegas hospital for over two weeks for what is suspected as exposure to ricin. Vials of the deadly agent were discovered by cleaners in his hotel room, along with an “anarchist handbook” with a section on “how to make ricin” tabbed, and castor beans, the prime ingredient in making ricin.
Yesterday the New York Times reported that Bergendorff “is believed to be a computer graphic artist whose work has appeared on several science fiction novels.” An online search reveals that a “Roger Bergendorff” signed and numbered a limited edition series of “UCLA Legends” prints that he had painted, featuring images of John Wooden, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and other classic players.
Roger Van Bergendorff was also related to Fred Bergendorff, a long time marketing director at KNX 1070 News Radio, who passed away in Brea at the end of January after a long illness.
Public records show that Mr. Von Bergendorff lived for several years in the 1980s and 1990s with a relative, Fred Bergendorff, in La Mesa, Calif. Mr. Bergendorff, who died on Jan. 27, was the founder of the Pet Place, a charity focused on assisting homeless pets, and the host of the organization’s long-running TV and radio programs in Southern California.
It should be noted that while Fred died just two weeks before Roger admitted himself to a Vegas hospital with respiratory problems (and subsequently falling into a coma), Roger had been living in with a cousin, Thomas Tholen, in Riverton, Utah until last fall.
While the FBI has discounted a terrorist connection, assuming the ricin was made by Bergendorff there are still unanswered questions as to why he had made it. Did Bergendorff have one or more targets in mind, or was he just following the instructions out of morbid curiosity?
…additional source: True Crime Weblog…