The father of the Florida State University student accused of murdering a couple and then eating one of his alleged victims’ faces has broken his silence, saying his son would never “knowingly” commit such atrocities.
“It’s the worst thing I could ever think of. This is the biggest nightmare I could ever even dream of, what’s happened,” Dr. Wade Harrouff said through tears in a sit-down with Dr. Phil that's set to air September 7.
Dr. Harrouff was out to dinner with his son, 19-year-old Austin Harrouff, when the young man stormed out of the restaurant, apparently angry over slow service.
Concerned over his behavior, the teen’s family called police and his fraternity brothers to help find him.
Police responding to a 911 call of a gruesome attack found the younger Harrouff after he had allegedly stabbed Michelle Mishcon, 53, and John Stevens, 59, to death as they sat in their Tequesta driveway.
Investigators believe he targeted them at random.
Cops say he also attacked a good Samaritan who called 911 when he stumbled upon him biting Stevens’ face and stomach. That victim was airlifted to a nearby hospital to be treated for his extensive injuries.
“I’m deeply sorry for what my son did to those people. And I’ll apologize for him, because my own son would have never done that. He never would’ve knowingly done anything like that,” said Dr. Harrouff, sobbing as he clutched a tissue. “He’s such a good person. He would never knowingly do something like that. I’m truly sorry to those people.”
He described his son’s behavior at dinner as “manic” to Dr. Phil, saying that his son underwent a dramatic personality change two weeks before that night, according a statement from the show.
“I don’t know how to do this. My son has taken off. It seems like he’s a little delusional. He says he feels immortal, like a superhero,” Harrouff’s mother, Mina, said in a 911 call after her son left the restaurant.
Police said it took several deputies and a K-9 to pry Harrouff off one of his alleged victims, as the teen was “abnormally strong” during the incident and was unaffected by a Taser.
Harrouff has tested negative for common drugs, but tests for less typical substances such as flakka — a hallucinogen sometimes referred to as “the zombie drug” — will take longer to come back.
“Trust me, you won’t find any drugs,” Harrouff allegedly told police.
The FBI will be running those tests once it obtains a report from the hospital at which Harrouff is being treated, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said during a press conference Tuesday.
It is unclear how long those results may take.
“It did appear to us and it did appear to the hospital staff that he ingested some chemicals,” Snyder said, noting that Harrouff’s symptoms, signs and results at the hospital indicated he swallowed a caustic fluid, or one that is not meant for consumption.
Solvents and cleaning materials were in the victims’ garage, he said.
He was found with his right thumb nearly severed, which Snyder said is an injury consistent with a “hand sliding down that knife as he plunged it through the victim.”
Harrouff remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition, where medical staffers are working to understand and treat his internal injuries, Snyder said.