Daughter of Legionnaire's victim interviewed by FBI

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The daughter of the first victim of the Veterans Affairs Legionnaire's outbreak in Pittsburgh spent three hours talking to the FBI and an assistant U.S. attorney last week.

Maureen Ciarolla, whose father, John, 83, of North Versailles, was the first of at least six victims of the outbreak when he died in July 2011, said the FBI called and invited her to meet with them on Nov. 22 in the federal building Downtown, but they didn't give her a reason behind the meeting.

Instead, the agents and an assistant U.S. attorney asked Ms. Ciarolla to tell her story about how her father got sick while he was at the Pittsburgh VA, contracted Legionnaire's and later died, and anything else she thought they should know.

"They didn't ask questions. They just listened," she said.

She had tried to get in touch with David Hickton, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, months ago but didn't think her message got through.

Last February, after the VA's inspector general began its own investigation into the Legionnaires' outbreak, Mr. Hickton put out a news release that said in part: "This matter is of great public interest and we understand and appreciate the public's concern. We regard this as a very serious matter."

The VA inspector general's office has continued to refuse to say whether it has completed its own investigation.

Sean D. Hamill: shamill@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2579.

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