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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Life will never be the same for the Harrouff family, or the families of the victims Austin Harrouff is accused of killing.
“Police said he’s killed two people and eaten them and the blood that you see is not his own,” said Dr. Wade Harrouff.
Dr. Harrouff opened up about his son, the so-called “Cannibal Killer,” to Doctor Phil. He says Austin first started acting strange two weeks before the August 15th attack of John and Michelle Stevens in their Tequesta home.
Hours before the killings, Dr. Harrouff says his son left Duffy’s restaurant without saying a word, and then showed up at his mother’s house two miles away.
“He grabbed a bottle of Wesson oil and was going to drink it. She stopped him. He poured it in a bowl, put parmesan cheese on it, and then he ate that….very abnormal,” said Dr. Harrouff.
When police found Austin later that night, they said he was biting John Stevens’ face. It took multiple deputies, a Taser, and a police k-9 to pull the Florida State University student off his victim.
Investigators say the19-year-old ingested some sort of poison, and toxicology reports are pending to see if Flakka or bath salts were in Austin’s system.
“He cared a lot about people. He must have had some psych break to do this. He was a good person. He was a nice, gentle person, wouldn’t hurt a flea. When he wakes up, he won’t believe this. He won’t be able to deal with it,” said Dr. Harrouff.
He says his son is a gentle giant who wanted to be a doctor. Now, Austin remains in intensive care, as his father waits to find out what caused him to snap.
“People have demonized him. I can understand why. All I can do is try to tell the world, it’s not him. It’s an example of what can happen with mental illness,” said Dr. Harrouff. “I love him. I’m not going to give up on him ever. He’s going to get through this.”
Dr. Harrouff says his family has a history of mental illness including severe depression and schizophrenia. He says he feels guilty that he didn’t notice the warning signs in his son sooner.
Austin remains hospitalized, and at the time of the interview, his father said he had only seen him once.