Investigators who are working to determine how a man wound up in the hospital afterin Colorado now say there's no evidence that employees at the restaurant were responsible for the poisoning.
"Although there is no evidence that the employees at Taco Bell put the rat poison in the food, investigators can not account for how it got in the food," the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office said in a prepared statement released Friday morning.
The incident happened last weekend at the fast food restaurant on the 16700 block of East Smoky Hill Road in the southeastern part of the Denver metro area, very close to the Aurora city limit.
As part of an update on the investigation on Friday, the sheriff's office sharing the following the timeline in the case:
- On Sunday at approximately 1 p.m. deputies responded to the Taco Bell after they say a customer in the drive-thru and employees inside got in a "verbal disturbance." The customer was allegedly upset about the soda dispenser not working and demanded that he should get a burrito because he wasn't going to be getting the soda he ordered along with several tacos. The sheriff's office said that employees turned down his request initially but eventually complied. The office said deputies determined no criminal activity had taken place in the disturbance.
- Investigators say the man (who CBS News Colorado is not identifying) had brought his tacos home and ate them about 6 hours later and "immediately felt a burning in his mouth and began to vomit." He called 911 and said he ate food that had rat poison in it and was taken to the hospital.
- On Sunday shortly before 8 p.m. deputies responded to the hospital and "saw a greenish-gray substance in the taco" and lab tests that were done on it confirmed that's what it was.
The employees of the Taco Bell, which was temporarily closed, turned over videos from inside the building to investigators. Deputies also retrieved the rest of the food that was back at the man's house and collected it as evidence.
The sheriff's office says they have tried to talk to the man since Sunday but he hasn't responded to their phone calls and he didn't respond when they attempted to talk to him at his house in a visit to the location on Thursday.
"If the customer has any information that can help with the investigation into how the poison could have gotten into the food, we request he contacts (us)," the sheriff's office wrote.
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