A 19-year-old frat boy who was found at the scene of a double homicide on Monday biting flesh off a victim’s face could have been on the synthetic drug flakka, authorities believe.
Austin Kelly Harrouff, whose condition is deteriorating in the hospital, was arrested Monday night after allegedly stabbing married couple Michelle Stevens and John Stevens III to death inside their Jupiter, Florida, home.
Sheriff William Snyder said a toxicology report would not be immediately available, but added: ‘It absolutely could be a flakka case. We don’t know…I would not be surprised though if we end up finding that is the case.’
The synthetic drug swept Florida in 2013, gaining the nickname ‘five dollar insanity’ because it causes hallucinations, psychosis and ‘superhuman’ strength.
In a released 911 call, the couple’s neighbor, Jeff Fisher, 47, can be heard breathing heavily after he heard screams and rushed to the Stevenses’ house on Southeast Kokomo Lane to help, only to be stabbed several times himself.
When law enforcement arrived on the scene, they found the Florida State University student on top of John, tearing pieces of his face off with his teeth in the driveway.
Deputies later discovered Michelle’s lifeless body inside the garage of their home.
A female deputy used a stun gun on Harrouff several times in an attempt to subdue him, but it failed to work.
It took four deputies and a K9 to pry Harrouff off the victim; the suspect was described by Martin County Sheriff William Snyder as ‘grunting and growling,’ and ‘making animal noises’ at the time of his arrest.
Snyder said the responding deputies didn’t shoot at Harrouff, fearing their bullets would strike the victim, as they did not know that John was already dead.
‘The suspect in this case was abnormally strong,’ Snyder said. ‘So getting that excited delirium type increased adrenaline strength.
‘Somebody not feeling pain, not responding to a dog bite, repeated stuns from a Taser, taking three to four deputies and officer dog to get him off. That’s somebody with a lot more strength than you would normally encounter.’
While initial drug tests came up negative for cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana and opiates, investigators will also be testing Harrouff for flakka and bath salts.
Snyder said: ‘I’m not going to speculate, except to say that we know in our business that people on flakka or bath salts will do this type of behavior, where they attack the victim and do the biting and actually remove pieces of flesh in the bites.’
Despite some signs that Harrouff may have been under the influence of flakka, he did not have a raised body temperature, common among users of the drug, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Flakka, which contains alpha-PVP, a chemical compound similar to ingredients used to make bath salts, resembles a mix of crack cocaine and meth.
Once ingested, the drug causes a feeling of euphoria, hallucinations and sometimes psychosis or apparent superhuman strength.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.