On Aug. 15, police in Martin County, Florida, responded to a 911 call placed by a man who said he'd been stabbed trying to break up a fight.
When police arrived, they found a man on top of a dead man, biting the dead man’s face, WPEC reports.
The suspect was removing the victim's flesh with his teeth, according to police. It took several officers, a police dog and a stun gun to pry the apparent cannibal from the body.
The victim’s wife was found dead in the home's garage. According to authorities, the suspect and the deceased couple knew each other.
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The man who called 911 was a neighbor of the victims, and was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. The suspect was also taken to the hospital, where he has been treated for unspecified injuries.
Although the suspect’s motive is not known, authorities believe he was high on a drug that has been a menace in Florida for several years.
As Martin County Sheriff William Snyder put it: “When we see a case like this, when someone is biting off pieces of somebody's face, could it be flakka, the answer is it absolutely could be flakka case, we don't know.”
Flakka, technically known as Alpha PVP, is described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as follows:
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Alpha-PVP is chemically similar to other synthetic cathinone drugs popularly called "bath salts," and takes the form of a white or pink, foul-smelling crystal that can be eaten, snorted, injected, or vaporized in an e-cigarette or similar device. Vaporizing, which sends the drug very quickly into the bloodstream, may make it particularly easy to overdose. Like other drugs of this type, alpha-PVP can cause a condition called "excited delirium" that involves hyperstimulation, paranoia, and hallucinations that can lead to violent aggression and self-injury. The drug has been linked to deaths by suicide as well as heart attack. It can also dangerously raise body temperature and lead to kidney damage or kidney failure.
This is not the first time Florida police have been called to a face-eating scene. In 2012, a Miami man was arrested for the same offense while high on bath salts. As for the Martin County case, authorities are still awaiting the toxicology results.