New, bizarre details are trickling out in the inexplicable case of a Florida couple killed in a violent face-eating rampage.
Austin Harrouff, a sophomore at FSU, was spending his summer break with family when deputies said he snapped, killing two of his neighbors, stabbing a third, and chewing on the face and stomach of one of the dead victims.
A week after the attack, Harrouff remains sedated with a breathing tube in a Palm Beach County hospital. Earlier comments from officials suggested his prolonged sedation may have been due to something he ingested. Now, deputies said he might have guzzled chemicals found in the garage.
“The hospital speculated, based on what they were seeing in his body fluids, that perhaps he had ingested something caustic from the garage,” the Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
So far, Harrouff has tested negative for common street drugs including marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Further toxicology reports are due in a week or so, including tests for bath salts and flakka. When the teen first arrived at the hospital, deputies said he told them, “Test me, you won’t find any drugs.”
When the 19-year-old is released from the hospital, deputies said he will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, armed burglary and resisting arrest without violence.
Harrouff spent last Monday morning with his local fraternity brothers, Snyder said, and he was “somewhat distant, somewhat different, but there was nothing extremely unusual about his behavior.” Later, he had dinner at a Duffy’s sports bar with his family. Security footage shows Harrouff walked out of the restaurant in white shorts, a blue polo and a red cap on backward.
Next up, deputies say, was a three-mile walk to Kokomo Lane. Along the way, a CBS12 news team found a pair of shorts similar to what Harrouff was seen wearing. The sheriff confirmed the department is reviewing the shorts as evidence and that Harrouff wasn’t wearing pants during the attack.
Also found along the sidewalk — a trail of blood. When he was first hospitalized, Harrouff had hand surgery to repair wounds that CBS12 reported could have been self-inflicted on his trek to the Kokomo Lane home.
“At the Duffy’s he was processing information and behaving appropriately,” Snyder said. “The compelling question is why, between Duffy’s and our victims’ home, did we see this homicidal rage?”
Harrouff is accused of entering John and Michelle Stevens’ open garage and killing the couple, although “who dies first is just not known yet,” Snyder told the Herald.
“Copious amounts” of blood were found in the garage, the driveway and a car outside, he said. The bloody footprints through the home appear to belong to the neighbor, Jeff Fisher, who saw Harrouff attacking Michelle Stevens and tried to stop him. The prints mark Fisher’s hasty retreat through the house after Harrouff allegedly stabbed him five times.
“We’re still reconstructing the scene,” Snyder said. “It’s possible the male [John Stevens] was already dead on the floor and the good Samaritan [Fisher] didn’t see him.”
He said the extreme carnage in the garage and on the bodies makes it difficult to determine what weapons were used, but the autopsy reports show Michelle was beaten to death and John was stabbed and beaten. A broken handle of vodka may have been used, Snyder said, along with the switchblade Harrouff carried.