Zoo Employees Claim Co-Worker May Be Poisoning Their Drinks

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)–Three St. Louis Zoo workers claim someone may have poisoned their drinks.  Yet no one notified St. Louis Police and as Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes explained, the zoo even has an internal policy — ‘never call 911.’
 
A spokesperson for the St. Louis Zoo says they have every expert available to handle any emergency inside.  But one former employee and two current workers  raise questions about the zoo’s internal investigations, based on what happened to them over three different dates.  They believe someone may have poisoned their drinks.
 
Former zoo supervisor Regina Haywood said, “I gagged and instantly said ‘oh my gosh something`s in my soda’ and it started burning my throat and my stomach.”  
 
Haywood said she’d left out her can of diet soda when doing zoo rounds September 25th.  She didn’t feel it wasn’t serious enough to go to the e.r., but she said initial findings indicated someone put industrial soap in her drink.  She said no one tested the can for days.  Haywood explained, “That can remained at the ranger base, with no chain of custody.  It was not, you know, put in a bag.  No photograph had been taken, no documentation what the can looked like.
(Reporter Chris Hayes said) Police were called?
(Haywood responded) No.
(Hayes) Police were not called?
(Haywood) Police were not called.”

A zoo spokesperson said the incident wasn’t serious enough to involve police.  She also said the can tested ‘negative,’ but she would not share the results.

Three weeks later, Haywood’s boss John Huffstutler drank a cup of coffee and reportedly doubled over.  I caught up with him outside of zoo grounds.

I asked him, “Is it true you may have been poisoned?
(Huffstutler) Yeah, uuh yeah, mmmhm
(Hayes) Do you know what it was?
(Huffstutler) You probably have to get with the zoo on that. I`d have to refer you to the zoo.”

The zoo found motor oil, but a spokesman clarified that it was a ‘minute’ amount and still didn’t require calling police.  Haywood saw her boss in pain that day and added, “The funny, odd, thing about it was that the one person that`s also suspected from my poisoning was standing there, like 5 feet away from my boss and didn`t offer help, just continued working, which was odd, because when you see somebody in distress like that, that’s the first thing you ask, ‘Do you need help?
(Hayes) Did anybody question him?
(Haywood) No.”

Haywood said she didn’t feel safe coming back to work.  Then another mysterious sickness.  80 year old Irvin Jordan said he drank a cup of coffee, then went to the hospital for four days.

I also caught up with Jordan outside of zoo grounds.  I said, “It`s a possibility something was put in your coffee?”
(Jordan) Could be possibly. I don`t know.
(Hayes) Are you getting any answers from anybody?
(Jordan) Nope, haha no.”

This time the zoo did not test the drink.  A zoo spokesperson said no one reported this incident.  

St. Louis police still don’t know about these possible poisonings.  The zoo says their security can handle it, because security officers are former police officers.  The zoo even has a policy not to call outside for emergencies.  We found it spelled out in a brochure for contractors.  It says in bold caps, ‘NEVER CALL 911.’

I asked Haywood, “What if there`s a heart attack?
(Haywood) It`s uh, yeah, it`s not good.
(Hayes) Somebody with a gun?
(Haywood) I know.
(Hayes) Don`t call 911.
(Haywood) Don`t call 911.”
 
Zoo spokeswoman Susan Gallagher would not go on camera, but she said the zoo can handle any emergency.  She said they instruct zoo employees to call an internal line because it’s quicker.

E-mail Chris.Hayes@TvStl.com
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