A pest control company in Florida is now facing federal charges after a six-month investigation found them to have committed several violations during a fumigation, leaving a young boy with brain damage.
According to local Florida news affiliate WPTV, Sunland Pest Control has been charged with two federal crimes related to the botched fumigation of Peyton McCaughey’s home in Palm City, FL.
While most extermination professionals are careful to use natural fumigating solutions, Sunland Pest Control opted for more aggressive chemicals. In addition to their negligence, the company also lied about which pesticides they used when questioned by Florida’s Department of Agriculture.
CNN reported on the tragic story of 10-year-old Peyton McCaughey in September. Sunland Pest Control fumigated the McCaughey family home on Aug. 14, informing them that it was safe to return to the house just two days later.
The entire family immediately began feeling ill, but Peyton suffered the worst. While his family’s condition improved, the young boy continued to worsen. Now, Peyton McCaughey has severe brain damage, limiting his motor skills and ability to speak.
“He’s got his personality; he will still smile and still laugh, but he can’t get the words out that he wants to say and can’t move the way he wants to move, and frustration sets in,” said Ed Gribben, Peyton’s uncle.
Now, Sunland Pest Control is being investigated for failing to fumigate the home with natural termite control solutions. The first federal count the company faces is for “using a restricted use pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”
Count two is for a “false statement,” in which Sunland claimed the pesticide “Vikane was used, when in truth and in fact, a different restricted use pesticide, Zythor, was used.”
Industry experts are extremely careful when choosing which pesticides to use, and Sunland’s unprofessional behavior is a classic example of what not to do when fumigating a home.
The charging documents were submitted by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida. Sunland Pest Control owner Grenale Williams and employee Canarie Deon Curry were both listed in the documents.
Count one carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, while count two carries a maximum of five years in prison. There is no timetable for sentencing as of yet.