Florida

‘Grunting’ suspect in face-eating attack on a random rampage, deputies say

Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53, and her husband, John Stevens, 59.
Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53, and her husband, John Stevens, 59. Facebook

Something made a young man go mad.

He viciously stabbed a married couple twice his age, plus a neighbor who tried to intervene, deputies said. They found him crouched over the bleeding body of the man, biting chunks of his face off.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told reporters his deputies found the suspect late Monday in the driveway of a Tequesta home. Officers shot their stun guns at the 19-year-old multiple times to no avail. Even a police dog couldn’t get the man to release his victim.

Finally, three to four cops were able to wrench the suspect off the dead man. The man was “making animal noises,” and “grunting and growling” as officers yanked him away.

Inside the garage they found his wife, also stabbed to death. Multiple “weapons of opportunity” were used to beat, slash and attack the couple, including a switchblade the suspect was known to carry. Officials said it looked like the husband tried to fight back.

Former North Miami Beach Mayor Jeffrey Mishcon identified the dead woman as his daughter, Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53. She attended North Miami Beach High. Deputies identified her husband as John Stevens, 59, who attended high school in South Miami-Dade.

“There was an enormous amount of violence in that garage,” Snyder said.

According to neighbors, the couple often liked to sit inside their garage with the door open. That’s how they were spending their Monday evening, Snyder said, until 19-year-old Austin Harrouff showed up. He didn’t know the couple, Snyder said. He called it a “completely unprovoked and random attack.”

The neighbor who called 911 rushed to help the husband, Snyder said, but he was stabbed as well. He underwent surgery early Tuesday morning.

Snyder said Harrouff, an FSU sophomore studying pre-exercise science, was eating dinner at Duffy’s, a sports pub down the block, with his parents when he got mad from possibly about slow service and stormed out. Snyder said he was in his hometown with some of his fraternity brothers, members of Alpha Delta Phi, according to his Facebook page.

Harouff, who originally gave police a fake name, is sedated in a hospital in Palm Beach County.

May 26, 2012 Miami Herald File Video: A condensed and narrated version of the Miami Herald building security camera footage showing the face-eating attack on a homeless man on the MacArthur Causeway.

The gory details mirror the infamous Miami face-eater case, a random and horrific attack on a homeless man that made international news and spawned countless jokes about zombies and bath salts. Contrary to popular belief, Rudy Eugene, the “causeway face attacker” only had marijuana in his system. And unlike the Tequesta couple, his victim lived.

Read More: The unraveling of Rudy Eugene, aka the causeway face attacker

Snyder told reporters he can’t be sure if the suspect was on any drugs until the full toxicology report comes back, but said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Flakka was involved. The initial drug screen showed no evidence of the usual drugs, like cocaine and heroin, but the tests for more unique synthetic drugs are still out. Snyder said Harrouff’s body core temperature was low, which could indicate Flakka was not involved.

Flakka, which has been linked to many drug overdoses and bizarre behavior, is a psychoactive stimulant technically known as alpha-PVP.

Deputies are waiting on a judge to OK a search warrant before they conduct an in-depth, forensic search of the home.

Deputies were looking for Ivy Stevens, who they originally thought was with the suspect. She’s the daughter of the slain husband and step-daughter of the slain wife. She did not know the suspect.

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc

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