Crime & Courts

Dept of Justice goes after bug exterminators that almost killed two families

McCaughey family (Facebook)

It is being reported on September 4, 2015 that pest fumigation company, Terminix, is being investigated for the poisoning of a Palm City, FL family that led to the hospitalization of a 10-year-old boy who suffered nerve and brain damage.  The McCaughey family had their home fumigated for termites last month.  After two days they were told that it was safe to return, however, it wasn’t.

At first the family of four thought that they were all coming down with the flu.  They realized their ailment was much more serious when their nine year old son (who turned 10 on September 3, 2015), Peyton, lost his ability to speak and couldn’t stand on his own.  “Carl, Lori, [McCaughey] and family were cleared to return to their home after it was tented and treated for termites. However, within a few hours of returning home, they became ill. Everyone recovered except their son, 9 year old Peyton.”  They took Peyton to the hospital where he has been ever since. It will take months before they know  if the boy will fully recover or not.

“‘A recent MRI suggests there is brain damage  . . .He is unable to control his limbs. He has uncontrollable twitching and flopping. He is unable to feed himself, but his appetite is improving.'”

This is the second time that Terminix has been found responsible for poisoning a family.  On March 20, 2015, the Esmond family from Maryland were on vacation at the luxury Sirenusa resort in the Virgin Islands when they were all found convulsing on the floor.  Their villa had just been fumigated by Terminix before they arrived.  The father and two high school aged sons were hospitalized in critical condition and are still recovering.

The Esmond’s were poisoned by a toxic chemical that is illegal to use for residential fumigation in the U.S.  Investigators found methyl bromide which is known to cause, “… central nervous or respiratory damage …”  The poison that is normally used in fumigation is a clear, odorless gas called sulfuryl fluoride which can cause illness if exposed to high doses.

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