7 unanswered questions over killer mushroom lunch as cops probe new evidence & suspect Erin Patterson goes into hiding | The Sun
11th August 2023

A POISONOUS mushroom lunch that killed three people has sparked a massive mystery.

Erin Patterson hosted a lunch with her former in-laws, Gail and Don Patterson – and Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson plus her husband Ian.

The family gathered at Erin's home in Victoria, Australia for the dinner last week, which ended in tragedy.

After eating the meal, the guests became violently ill with three later dying – thought to be due to poisonous mushrooms.

Here we take a look at all the unanswered questions as cops scramble to find out what happened.

Where is Erin Patterson?

Erin Patterson is a 48-year-old mother of two who cooked a poisonous mushroom lunch that killed three members of her extended family.

She lives in Leongatha in Victoria’s South Gippsland region in Australia, an area known for its beaches, lakes, mountains and vineyards.

Lawyers acting for Erin have been forced to camp outside her home to hand deliver legal instructions after she went missing on Thursday. 

She had told reporters just before 10am she was leaving to speak to lawyers in Melbourne.

But a representative of the law firm arrived at her property at 5pm to hand deliver a letter, Daily Mail Australia reports.

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The man said it was the only way Erin could be reached after cops confiscated her phone and computer – raising questions about her whereabouts.

It's understood Erin did not return to her home on Thursday night.

Erin has denied any wrongdoing and cops have cautioned that the incident could be "very innocent".

How is the dehydrator connected to the deaths?

Within hours of quizzing her, detectives painstakingly searched a nearby rubbish tip and also swooped at a junkyard in the neighbouring town of Koonwarra, where they retrieved a food dehydrator believed to have been used to prepare the meal.

Cops are now trying to trace CCTV which would show cars driving in and out of the site.

Where did she get the mushrooms?

The deadly lunch that was served included a beef wellington pie as its main course, Guardian Australia reports.

Recipes for beef wellington often include mushrooms.

It is understood Erin originally told cops she bought the mushrooms for the dish — known as death caps — from a store close to her home in Leongatha, Victoria, Australia.

Why isn't she sick?

Gail and Don Patterson, Simon's parents and Erin's former in-laws, as well as Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson died after eating at Erin's house.

Heather's husband Ian, a pastor, is still alive at the time of writing.

He is in a critical condition in hospital and is awaiting a liver transplant.

The guests became violently ill after eating the meal Erin had prepare for them, which allegedly had poisonous mushrooms in it.

It is still not known whether she ate the same meal as her guests but police have confirmed her two children did not eat the food.

Dean Thomas, Victoria Police Detective Inspector for the Homicide Squad, has confirmed that the investigations into the deaths are not necessarily being treated as suspicious.

He did say, however, that they are "unexplained".

Thomas added that the symptoms presented by the victims are linked to death cap mushrooms and that they are working with medical experts and toxicologists to get to the bottom of the case.

Why did her ex-husband pull out of the dinner?

Erin's estranged husband, and father of her two children, is a man called Simon Patterson.

He is believed to be an U16 boys basketball coach.

Simon was invited to to join his parents for lunch at Erin's house, the former family home, on July 29, 2023.

It was been reported that he pulled out of the fatal meal at short notice.

A friend of Simon's told Daily Mail Australia: "Simon was supposed to go to the lunch but couldn't make it at the last minute."

According to neighbours of Simon's parents, he had lived with his mum and dad after splitting from Erin.

They added that he moved out of his parent's house in late 2022.

Did she want to get back with the ex-husband?

A source close to Simon claimed Erin was desperate to get back with him – and suggested the lunch was an "intervention" from his family.

The friend said his family were concerned and described the get-together as a "mediation".

Simon was supposed to join the lunch – but reportedly pulled out at the last minute.

The pal told Daily Mail Australia: "She wanted to get back with Simon and the family didn't want Simon to get back with her.

"This wasn't just a lunch, it was an intervention with the pastor as mediator. That's why this lunch happened.

"Simon was supposed to go there for lunch but he pulled out in the last minute otherwise he would be in that death bed too.

"The people who died, Gail, Don and the Wilkinsons, were talking to them because they're heavily ingrained with the church and they wanted to make sure she was  right to resume a relationship with Simon.

"She was basically petitioning to get back with him and the family didn't think that was a good move."

Was her ex-husband poisoned one year before the horror?

In May 2022 Simon suffered a mystery illness after collapsing and was placed into an induced coma.

Simon detailed his ordeal in a social media post, writing: "I collapsed at home, then was in an induced coma for 16 days through which I had three emergency operations mainly on my small intestine, plus an additional planned operation.

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