Father Of Florida Teen Tells Dr. Phil That Mental Illness, Not Flakka Caused Murder Spree

By McCarton Ackerman 09/01/16

“This is the biggest nightmare I could ever dream of. I’m deeply sorry for what my son did to those people.”

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Father Of Florida Teen Tells Dr. Phil That Mental Illness, Not Flakka Caused Murder Spree
Wade Harrouff Photo Dr. Phil Show/YouTube

Dr. Phil fittingly grabbed the first interview with the father of the Florida "face-biting" college student who murdered two people in August. Wade Harrouff, the father of 19-year-old Austin Harrouff, insisted that mental illness—and not drugs—was the cause of the gruesome attack.

The evening of August 15, Austin Harrouff reportedly beat 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon to death, then stabbed and killed her husband, 59-year-old John Stevens. Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said police found Harrouff "on top of [Stevens], clutching him in a bear hug and biting him in the face." It took three officers, a police dog and several tasings to finally pry the teenager off of Stevens.

In an interview set to air September 7, Wade Harrouff told Dr. Phil that his son suffers from schizophrenia, and is convinced the murders were “not flakka-induced.” He said Austin is “a good person” and “would never knowingly do something” as heinous as his alleged crimes. 

"This is the biggest nightmare I could ever dream of. I’m deeply sorry for what my son did to those people," he said.

According to a gym buddy of Austin's, only identified as "Logan," Harrouff’s family had informed him that “he started hearing voices in his head a week before it happened and wasn't able to sleep.”

Logan also ruled out drugs being a factor in the murders. “He wasn’t on flakka, at least I'm confident he wasn't," Logan told local news outlet WPBF. "He never smoked weed or drank alcohol until college and never liked doing drugs so it's hard to believe that he would jump straight to that."

But despite the beliefs of his family and friends, Sheriff Snyder says Austin exhibited many of the symptoms commonly found in flakka users. Marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine were ruled out as possible substances involved in the attack.

Austin awoke from an 11-day coma last week. Even while completely unresponsive, he was monitored by authorities at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Martin County officials said he is now “awake and responsive,” but still unable to provide a statement.

Austin will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one of first-degree attempted murder as soon as he’s in a position to face them.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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