Cannibal attack stuns Florida

Cannibal attack stuns Florida
By Catherine Hardy with Reuters
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"Legal high" drug Flakka is under the spotlight after police find a 19-year-old student chewing the face of a stabbing victim.


Officials in the United States have released a photo of a Florida State University student suspected of a vicious attack on a local couple.

59-year-old John Stevens and 53-year-old Michell Mishcon were stabbed to death in the garage of their home in a community on Florida’s eastern coast.

Face-biting, murder suspect identified as FSU student Austin Harrouff, 19.

— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) August 16, 2016

19-year-old Austin Harrouff is the key suspect.

Police who went to the scene say Harrouff was biting Stevens’ face and had to be pulled off the body by officers.

“I have seen a lot of crime scenes. I was there last night. I do not know that I have ever seen anything with this much violence, this much aggression, in a homicide,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

Was anyone else injured?


A neighbour who witnessed the attack and tried to intervene was stabbed several times by the suspect.

Where is Harrouff now?

He was taken to hospital after the attack.

Health workers say he was reportedly making “animal-like noises” before being sedated.

Do they know why the attack happened?

Not yet.

Police say they have not determined a motive.

A blood test has showed no signs of drugs in Harrouf’s system.

“Flakka is not a drug that can be tested for at a hospital level, nor can bath salts or some other substances that could result in the excited delirium that we saw last night,” Sheriff Snyder told reporters.

“So we will continue waiting on that and hopefully a big piece of this puzzle will be revealed.”

“Flakka” and “bath salts” are types of synthetic stimulant (see Fact Check below)

Is this the first attack of its kind in Florida?


A man was discovered chewing on another man’s face in Miami in 2012.

Some think the 2012 attack was prompted by a reaction to the synthetic stimulant “flakka”.


The US Drug Enforcement Administration has linked the stimulant to side effects ranging from impaired perception of reality to agitation and delusional behaviour.

Flakka – Fact Check

  1. Alpha PVP, a so-called “legal high”
  2. Gets its street name from Spanish slang for a beautiful woman (“la flaca”)
  3. Also known as “gravel”
  4. Sourced in China
  5. Contains a chemical similar to MDPV, a key ingredient in “bath salts”
  6. Causes a surge in “feel-good” neurotransmitters dopamine and seratonin
  7. Similiar effect to cocaine and amphetamines but longer-lasting

Bath Salts – Fact Check

  1. Contains MDPV
  2. Sold as “synthetic LSD” or “cocaine substitutes”
  3. Effects include paranoia, hallucinations, convulsions and psychotic episodes
  4. Temporarily banned by DEA in 2012 (Sources: CNN
    US Drug Enforcement Agency DEA)
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