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UK's Metropolitan Police say a woman is dead following exposure to nerve agent

Key Points
  • A woman exposed to the nerve agent Novichok is dead, UK authorities said on Sunday.
  • The poison is linked to a high profile case involving a former Russian double agent.
Forensic police officers wearing hazmat suits examine a vehicle believed to belong to Sergei Skripal on March 8, 2018, in Salisbury, England.
Rufus Cox | Getty Images

The Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom has launched a murder investigation after a 44 year old woman died after being exposed to a nerve agent Novichok, which was linked to the poisoning of a former Russian operative.

In a statement, the Met Police said that the victim, Dawn Sturgess, died on Sunday after exposure to the nerve agent. "Her family has been informed and is receiving support from specially trained family liaison officers," the statement read. "A post-mortem will be scheduled to take place in due course."

Flowers are left as police stand guard on a cordon outside the John Baker House Sanctuary Supported Living in Salisbury on July 9, 2018 in Wiltshire, England.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images

Amesbury has been shaken by the discovery just over a week ago of Novichok, which left Sturgess and a man gravely ill and stoked suspicions of Russia's involvement. The man, an unidentified 45 year old, is still hospitalized, authorities say.

Novichok is a Soviet-era chemical weapon developed during the Cold War. Some forms of the poison are said to be far more poisonous than VX, another toxic nerve agent.

In the spring, Sergei Skripal, a former double agent, and his daughter Yulia were exposed to the nerve agent in Salisbury. The incident prompted the British government to impose a round of sanctions on Moscow.