Nathan and Brenda Toone suffered the unthinkable loss of two of their daughters to alleged pesticide poisoning within days after taking care of the seemingly routine home maintenance task of using an exterminator.
The Toones hired Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc. to take care of voles, which had established themselves in the family’s lawn at their Layton, UT home. Bugman employee Cole Nocks buried poisonous Fumitoxin pellets, a phosphide-based rodent killer, in the yard. Within a day, Rebecca, age 4, and Rachel, 15 months, fell ill.
A carbon monoxide alarm went off in the family’s home on Friday, February 5, 2010. The fire department found only trace amounts of carbon monoxide and cleared the family to go inside. By Saturday, Rebecca’s symptoms worsened, she developed breathing problems, then cardiac arrest at a local hospital. Rachel was in critical condition in a children’s hospital by Monday night. Rachel passed away Tuesday, February 9, 2010.
Autopsy results showed the girls had lung damage caused by inhaling a dangerous substance with elevated phosphorus levels in their blood. A Hazmat team found dangerous levels of phosphine gas in the family’s home.