FLORIDA’S FACE-EATING KILLER WHY DID HE DO IT?
Police search for answers after cannibal frat boy Austin Harrouff commits one of the most horrific murders ever
The scene was like something out of a horror movie. Police arrived at the Tequesta, Fla., home of John Stevens III, 59, and his wife, Michelle Mishcon, 53, on Aug. 15 to find the couple brutally stabbed and beaten to death — and 19-year-old attacker Austin Harrouff in the driveway, “grunting,” “growling” and savagely biting John’s face and gnawing at his stomach. It took a stun gun, a K-9 dog and four deputies to pry the half-dressed, “abnormally strong” 6-foot-tall Florida State University fraternity brother off of his victim. “It was awful. There was a blood trail down the driveway,” one neighbor tells In Touch. “I hope this lunatic gets what’s coming to him.”
He’s facing the death penalty. After spending seven weeks in a West Palm Beach hospital, Harrouff was charged with a slew of crimes, including two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted firstdegree murder, resisting arrest and armed burglary on Oct. 3, and transferred to Martin County jail. The day before his arrest, the teen gave a secret telephone interview to TV’S Dr. Phil Mcgraw. The segment, teased as “the frat boy dubbed ‘cannibal killer’ breaks his silence from his hospital bed,” was then mysteriously pulled just hours before it was set to air on Oct. 28. No reason was given. It’s just one more mystery surrounding the most shocking crime in America, and John’s grieving son John J. Stevens wants the mystery of this brutal crime solved immediately. He believes Harrouff ’s family has been mounting an aggressive “spin” strategy to set the table for an insanity defense, while he and police believe the teen was on drugs. “Austin Harrouff,” Stevens tells In Touch, “is a monster who destroyed my family.”
Authorities initially speculated that Harrouff took one of the so-called “zombie drugs,” flakka or bath salts. Early tests showed no cocaine, marijuana or methamphetamines in his system, but an FBI crime lab is doing further testing to look for synthetic psychoactive stimulants like flakka or bath salts, which have been linked to other violent attacks. “His behavior was extremely violent, unpredictable and consistent with the behavior patterns we’ve seen when people are on bath salts, so it certainly is a distinct possibility,” Martin County Sheriff William D. Snyder tells In Touch, adding that Harrouff also voluntarily ingested a hazardous blue liquid grout cleaner in the couple’s garage that “burned his intestines.”
But his family believes he was sober. “I know it’s not flakkainduced,” says Harrouff ’s father, Wade, a dentist who’s also spoken to Dr. Phil. “The weird behavior is coming from schizophrenia in my family.” A day after Harrouff was charged, his attorney Robert Watson told reporters, “There does appear to have been an onset of mental illness.”
Harrouff ’s mother told cops he had been “acting strange the last week or so, [saying] he had superpowers.” He’d also uploaded a bizarre series of Youtube videos over the summer, including one posted four days before the killings in which he said, “I don’t need drugs” and described himself in troubling terms: “I’ve got a psycho side and a normal side. I’ve lost my mind, help me find it.”
Stevens insists Harrouff ultimately is responsible for his actions. “He was mad enough, high on drugs or whatever, that he had it in his mind that he would kill, and he did,” he tells In Touch. Adds Sheriff Snyder: “One day [Harrouff ] has no criminal past and now he wakes up in the hospital and finds himself charged with two counts of firstdegree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. So life as Austin Harrouff knew it is over.” ◼
THE SCENE OF THE CRIME THE VICTIMS John and wife Michelle died after being brutally attacked on Aug. 15 in the garage they used as a party room. A neighbor who tried to help was also stabbed, but survived. The murder weapon was a large knife, which authorities believe was given to Harrouff by his father.
FINALLY ARRESTED In an effort to save taxpayers bill, from footing his hospital until his Harrouff wasn’t arrested recovered, Oct. 3 release. Now not “He seems placid, cooperative, to be in his combative. He appears Snyder. right mind,” says Sheriff
“Kill me … I deserve to die,” Harrouff yelled at cops, according to the incident report.