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Deputies don't know how rat poison got into customer's Taco Bell order

Investigators cannot account for how the poison got into the food, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) said Friday deputies found no evidence that employees at a Taco Bell restaurant placed rat poison in a customer's meal.

On Jan. 15, ACSO deputies responded about 1 p.m. to 16700 E. Smokey Hill Road on a report of a disturbance involving employees and a customer. Through their investigation, deputies learned that a customer had become upset with employees who said the soda dispenser was not working.

The customer requested a burrito in place of the drink, according to a release from ACSO. Employees told the customer that they could not do that, and the customer continued to argue until he was given an extra burrito, ACSO said.

About 7:50 p.m. that same day, deputies were called to an area hospital on a report of a patient who had been admitted after he had ingested rat poison, the Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

Deputies found out that this patient was the same customer from the earlier incident at the Taco Bell. The patient said he had received his food from Taco Bell and gone home, the release said.

The customer said he helped a neighbor with some yardwork until about 6 p.m. and then watched  TV until about 7 p.m. After the program finished, the patient ate his food and began feeling a burning in his mouth and began to vomit. The patient called 911 and was transported to the hospital, according to ACSO.

At the hospital, deputies saw the food that the patient had taken a bite out of and saw a greenish-gray substance, ACSO said. Lab tests confirmed the presence of rat poison, according to ACSO.

The Taco Bell was immediately closed and ACSO investigators and crime scene investigators were called to the restaurant to process the scene, ACSO said.

Taco Bell was cooperative during the investigation and turned over all videos from inside the building, according to ACSO.

Investigators have gone through the Taco Bell video and found no evidence that the employees were responsible for placing rat poison in the food given to the customer, ACSO said in their release. Investigators cannot account for how the poison got into the food at this time, ACSO said in the release.

During the investigation, deputies have tried to contact the patient and have not been able to talk with him, ACSO said.



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