A 46-year-old Texas woman faces a host of charges after she allegedly mailed explosives to then-President Barack Obama, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and former Social Security Administration Commissioner Carolyn Colvin. Julia Poff of Sealy had been repeatedly denied Social Security benefits and was also upset with the handling of a child support case dating back to when Abbott was Texas attorney general, an investigator testified at a Nov. 16 detention hearing, per KPRC. The packages mailed in October 2016 to Obama and Colvin were flagged by screening systems, but Abbott opened his. It contained black powder and pyrotechnic powder inside a cigarette pack, but "failed to explode because he did not open it as designed," court documents read, per NPR and the Houston Chronicle. The documents note an explosion could’ve caused "severe burns and death."
Among the evidence against Poff: cat hair. Authorities say hair beneath a label on the package sent to Obama was "microscopically consistent" with hair from Poff's cat, report NPR and CNN. But it was an "obliterated" shipping label from an eBay order sent to Poff, found on Abbott's package, that led authorities to Poff's home, where they say they found latex gloves and fireworks among other evidence. The investigator testified that Poff worked at a fireworks stand for years. Another alleged clue: Abbott's package contained a salad dressing bottle cap, and witnesses told authorities Poff bought that brand of dressing for her anniversary dinner. Poff is charged with mailing injurious articles, transportation of explosives with intent to kill, and more, and has been denied bail. A trial is set for January.