Chronic Fatigue Researcher Arrested

Judy Mikovits, notorious in the scientific community since she claimed to link a mouse retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome, has been arrested and is being held in jail.

Nov 21, 2011
Jef Akst

WMRVWIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Days after the news broke that chronic fatigue researcher Judy Mikovits was being sued by her former employer for allegedly taking data not rightfully hers, the biologist is now in jail. She was arrested Friday (November 18) in by Ventura County, California, sheriffs on felony charges that she is "a fugitive from justice," and is being held without bail, ScienceInsider reported.

The drama started two years ago when Mikovits published a paper claiming that she had found a link between XMRV, a mouse retrovirus, and chronic fatigue syndrome. The study was highly controversial, and its conclucions have since been widely discredited. Then in late September, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) in Reno, Nevada, fired Mikovits. Last week the institute filed a lawsuit against her, claiming that she took documents from her computer that didn't belong to her.

The details of Mikovits's arrest and detention are still coming to light. According to Lois Hart, one of Mikovits's attorneys, she is being held in California for extradition to Reno, Nevada, where that state's Second District Judicial Court is scheduled to hear arguments for a preliminary injunction in the WPI civil case on November 22. Mikovits also has a hearing in Ventura County that same day, where she can contest the extradition.

"The Whittemore Peterson Institute was required to report the theft of its laboratory materials to law enforcement authorities," Annette Whittemore, president of the Whittemore Peterson Institute, said in a statement. "These authorities are taking the actions that they deem necessary."