Accused cannibal killer charged over double murder, police claim bath salts link 'likely'

Yahoo US

Accused cannibal killer Austin Harrouff has been released from hospital and charged with the gruesome double murder of a Florida couple who police claim he attacked in a murderous rage likely linked to bath salts.

Harrouff, 19, faces two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for allegedly attacking a neighbour who came to the aid of murder victims Michelle Karen Mishcon, 53, and her husband John Stevens, 59, in the bloody attack two months ago, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Police claim they came upon the shocking murder scene as Harrouff was gnawing on the face of Mr Stevens' body in the garage of the couple's home in Jupiter near West Palm Beach.

He was making animal-like "gutteral" noises, police said.

Police claim the murderous rage may have been linked to bath salts. Photo: Yahoo US

Harrouff exhibited super-human strength as police attempted to pull him off the body, according to law enforcement authorities. It took four deputies, a stun gun and a police dog to finally subdue him.

Harrouff became critically ill after police arrested him on August 15 and he was immediately hospitalised.

Officials believe his health was affected by some kind of toxic bath salt drug or flakka.

His father, Wade Harrouff, said his son suffered organ damage for several weeks, and believes he was poisoned.

Harrouff's father says his son suffered organ damage. Photo: Yahoo US

Harrouff's parents say he had acted strangely in the days before the murder, when he suddenly left a family dinner at a restaurant furious about the service.

A short time later officials say he used a knife to attack the couple he found sitting in their garage.

Harrouff was released from hospital and charged with the murders on October 2 (local time). He is being held in Martin County jail without bail.

"My understanding is that he will probably continue to need therapy," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told local media.

"We made it clear to the hospital that this is a jail this is not a therapeutic place to be. We'll do the best we can."

Harrouff remains heavily medicated and will be staying in the medical wing of the jail for some time before he's moved into general population, according to Snyder.

Results of blood tests for flakka and bath salts by the FBI have not yet been released. The drugs have been linked to extremely bizarre, violent behaviour in other criminal cases.

"We know that the blood is being examined by the FBI, they're doing an analysis," said Snyder. "I'm very interested, we're all very interested."

News break – October 6