FOX Files: Zoo Poison Results

ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – Lab tests appear to contradict statements by the St. Louis Zoo about a cup of coffee reportedly `poisoned.`  The Zoo has since fired the supervisor who gagged on his coffee and a spokesman disputes anything was poisoned.  So Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes asked chemists to analyze the lab results.  The result even surprised former employees who allege `cover up.`

This involves the 2nd reported poisoning of a zoo employee.  Both incidents happened in a common area where employees took their eyes off their drinks, then later gagged on something they said was not supposed to be there.

Regina Haywood said her soda can tasted like industrial soap.  She claimed the Zoo didn`t take it seriously, waited a week to test the can, then told her it tested negative.  She`s positive someone put something in her drink and she believes it`s because she complained about harassment.  Her boss at the time, John Huffstutler, accepted the complaint but said his supervisors told him, “Regina needs, if she`s going to be in charge, she needs to be prepared for people to call her a bitch.  That is part of being a boss, that she needs to get a thicker skin and that her complaints do not meet the level of harassment.

(Chris Hayes asked) What do you think?
(Huffstutler) I think they absolutely reach the level of harassment.”

Then Huffstutler gagged on a cup of coffee that tested positive for motor oil.  Yet he said his boss ridiculed him for worrying.  He said he taped his boss, Wyndel Hill, say this… “One drop.  One single drop.  Wow”.

On the tape you could hear John ask, “Well my next question would be, is it dangerous?”
A man Huffstutler identified as Hill responded, “To me it`s no different than chewing tar and as a kid I chewed tar all the time.”

Huffstutler asked for the lab report when the Zoo fired him for talking to the media. The report is not very clear, so he didn’t question the Zoo’s claims it was a ‘minute’ amount of oil.

We asked experts.  One chemist I asked to look at the results, told me it could’ve been as much as a quarter of the cup of coffee.  Another chemist said it was definitely more than a drop.

When the Zoo failed to answer our follow up questions, we confronted Internal Relations Vice-President Wyndel Hill, who made the `chewing tar` comment.

“Mr. Hill, Chris Hayes, Fox 2.  What is it about this Zoo lab report that indicates to you this was just a drop of oil?”

Hill shut the trunk of his car and said, “Excuse me.”

Hayes followed up, “How do you justify not calling the police about this?”

Internal Relations VP Hill acted as if we weren`t there.

While the Zoo won’t directly answer all of our questions, President and CEO Jeff Bonner sent out this e-mail to employees calling Fox 2`s coverage `one sided` and he challenged allegations of a cover up by saying ‘at no time did the zoo attempt to silence employees.’  He asks to hear from employees, but does not address ongoing concerns from some employees who say the Zoo should call the police to investigate.

E-mail Chris.Hayes@TvStl.com
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