Police in the US are investigating the possibility that a 19-year-old student consumed caustic garage chemicals after murdering a couple in a fit of rage, after which he tried to eat the male victim’s face.
Austin Harrouff, a student at Florida State University, was visiting his parents for the holiday when he allegedly murdered John Stevens (50) and Michelle Mishcon (53) on 15 August after having been out to dinner with his family. He also allegedly attacked a neighbour who tried to help the couple.
John and Michelle live about 6 km from Austin’s father in Jupiter in Florida’s Martin County. They were watching television in their garage when Austin attacked them – seemingly unprovoked. The couple were stabbed to death and when authorities arrived, Austin was shirtless, hovering over John and making growling noises.
He’d apparently also bitten John’s face.
Austin is currently in a critical condition in hospital but will be charged with two counts of murder and one of attempted murder if he’s released from hospital, William Snyder, sheriff of Martin County, told the media.
The FBI suspects Austin was under the influence of either bath salts or flakka – both drugs can cause uncontrolled rage – at the time of the attack.
Tests are still being conducted to established whether this was the case. So far, Austin has tested negative for common street drugs, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
His parents, Wade and Mina Harrouff, released a statement last week in which they expressed their condolences with the Stevens family. Austin’s lawyers also confirmed that his parents acknowledge his behaviour before the murders was bizarre, but declined to elaborate.
Sources: Toronto Star, Sun Sentinel, perezhilton.com