In a small Australian town three individuals died after consuming a family meal believed to be tainted with deadly death cap mushrooms. The suspect was the victim's daughter-in-law.
It sounds like tale that only a mystery writer could imagine, but in reality, a genuine homicide investigation has unfolded over several months in a small Australian town.
I open this case because I was recently visiting with a work colleague and found out that he also had a mystery including poison mushrooms right here in Utah.
The victim in this twisted tale was his rescue dog, Barney.
The suspect him.
If you are familiar with this case you might think, “That’s impossible”. Because if you spend 3 minutes or more with Gary you find that he has a deep love for his dog. In fact, if you have ever met with him electronically you have met his dog as he is an energetic Labrador that will jump on Gary’s lap and join the meeting.
Side note: Barney rarely has his reports put together and wanders too much for efficient meeting etiquette, but you can tell he is loved.
So how did the poisoning happen in this love-filled relationship?
Here are the facts of the case: One day Barney got sick. It was the kind of sick that wouldn’t go away. Within a day Barney started to withdraw. Gary said,
I have seen this with former dogs I have lost. They start to sort of hide, they won’t come in the house and specifically, I noticed that they quit looking you in the eye.
He was worried but didn’t want to overreact and take him to the vet only to look overprotective so he monitored him for the rest of the day. By the next morning, Barney seemed a little better, but with time his health seemed to decline again. Finally, after a few days, Gary took Barney to the vet.
They found Barney to be in good condition, but as Gary explained the symptoms and behavior the veterinarian vetted out a detail that stuck out. Barney likes to root around in the yard. The vet asked if the yard had any mushrooms, Gary noted that some had bloomed recently and described them to the doctor.
The solution? Barney probably ate an overripe Inkcap Mushroom which could have been deadly. Thankfully Barney must have been able to process it (never underestimate the power of a Yellow Labrador stomach) before he was seen, hence no diagnosable evidence.
The moral of the tale is to watch your pets, examine your pet areas for mushrooms and make sure your area is safe. Also, if you are considering pulling off a murder by mushrooms, remember both perpetrators were caught; the one in Australia (we don’t know the motive) and the one in Utah (No motive intended. Gary feels very bad about the accident).