STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Terminix employee indicted in family's pesticide poisoning

A Terminix employee has been charged in relation to 2015 pesticide use at a US Virgin Islands resort that left a Dela...

Posted: Apr 15, 2018 1:46 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2018 1:46 PM

A Terminix employee has been charged in relation to 2015 pesticide use at a US Virgin Islands resort that left a Delaware family gravely ill.

Jose Rivera was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury for allegedly violating the federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

The indictment says Rivera used fumigants containing methyl bromide in multiple locations in the Virgin Islands, including the St. John resort where the family that became ill was staying in March 2015.

Methyl bromide can cause serious health problems, including central nervous system and respiratory system damage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA banned indoor use of methyl bromide in 1984.

The indictment alleges Rivera knowingly applied banned fumigants at the Sirenusa resort in St. John in October 2014 and March 2015. Prosecutors said Rivera also applied restricted-use pesticide in eight residential units in St. Croix and one unit in St. Thomas between April 2013 and February 2015.

Sudden illness, slow recovery

Steven Esmond, his two teenage sons, and the teens' mother, Theresa Devine, were found suffering extreme health effects in their villa at the Sirenusa resort in March 2015.

Esmond was found unconscious and the boys and their mother were having seizures, the family's lawyer, James Maron said. Maron didn't say who called the paramedics.

The teens were placed in medically induced comas for weeks.

Six months later, the teens were still struggling to eat, walk and sit up on their own, Maron said. Esmond continued to suffer from extreme tremors, struggled to speak and couldn't turn the pages of a book.

"Neurologically, it's like being in a torture chamber," Maron said in September 2015.

Devine had less exposure than the rest of the family, but had to go through occupational therapy.

The pesticide that caused the family to fall ill was applied in the unit below their villa.

The exposure was so significant inside the treated unit that six weeks after the family fell ill, dangerous amounts of methyl bromide were still being detected inside the rental villa, according to EPA documents.

Four emergency workers who helped the family suffered mild effects of exposure, according to the EPA.

Terminix fined

Terminix agreed in March 2016 to pay $10 million for illegally using the banned pesticide.

"Terminix companies knowingly failed to properly manage their pest control operations in the US Virgin Islands, allowing pesticides containing methyl bromide to be applied illegally and exposing a family of four to profoundly debilitating injuries," US Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden said at the time.

The plea agreement included $8 million in criminal fines, $1 million in restitution and a $1 million community service project for Terminix International Company and its US Virgin Islands operation, the US Justice Department said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 486434

Reported Deaths: 6575
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1009131586
Ramsey43165803
Dakota36375392
Anoka33335388
Washington22121258
Stearns18752201
St. Louis14822263
Scott13308107
Wright12538116
Olmsted1181788
Sherburne874172
Carver775640
Clay692387
Rice670791
Blue Earth596635
Kandiyohi579674
Crow Wing521282
Chisago499545
Otter Tail483270
Benton447790
Winona418549
Mower405731
Douglas393368
Nobles387247
Goodhue386269
Polk343763
McLeod340049
Beltrami338651
Morrison324747
Itasca313646
Lyon313644
Becker312542
Isanti306756
Steele301511
Carlton300149
Freeborn282623
Pine282016
Nicollet259241
Todd248330
Brown245537
Le Sueur235720
Mille Lacs227947
Cass220424
Waseca209317
Meeker207434
Martin189928
Wabasha18673
Roseau180317
Hubbard160740
Houston157414
Dodge15294
Renville150340
Redwood147027
Fillmore13768
Chippewa136735
Pennington136316
Cottonwood135020
Wadena131020
Faribault123417
Aitkin119033
Watonwan11758
Sibley117310
Rock115914
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101624
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9488
Jackson93610
Swift87918
Pope8075
Marshall78015
Lake74218
Stevens7418
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68516
Wilkin67411
Koochiching61911
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5092
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3075
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 335218

Reported Deaths: 5443
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51785551
Linn19463313
Scott17080210
Black Hawk14924292
Woodbury13778212
Johnson1312174
Dubuque12416194
Dallas1019092
Pottawattamie9828143
Story959345
Warren511674
Clinton500784
Cerro Gordo498882
Webster494487
Sioux479169
Marshall463072
Des Moines427161
Muscatine424191
Buena Vista412237
Wapello4025108
Jasper386266
Plymouth367478
Lee354252
Marion339869
Jones284654
Henry279637
Bremer268754
Carroll266349
Crawford252235
Boone242830
Benton240354
Washington239047
Mahaska215246
Jackson209738
Dickinson202440
Tama202365
Kossuth198055
Delaware185540
Clay183825
Winneshiek182827
Fayette178635
Page177819
Buchanan176929
Wright173831
Hamilton173742
Cedar171523
Hardin169439
Harrison167169
Clayton159854
Butler158831
Mills147920
Floyd147741
Poweshiek147730
Lyon145541
Cherokee145336
Allamakee142347
Madison141918
Iowa139423
Hancock137630
Grundy132030
Winnebago130231
Calhoun129311
Cass128751
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123147
Louisa122341
Mitchell120440
Chickasaw119615
Union118731
Sac118318
Shelby116433
Emmet115040
Humboldt113525
Franklin109019
Guthrie108928
Palo Alto100921
Howard99021
Montgomery96736
Clarke94720
Keokuk92029
Monroe89428
Adair81028
Ida81032
Pocahontas80919
Davis76323
Monona76327
Greene72910
Lucas71421
Osceola68215
Worth6667
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50520
Audubon4739
Wayne45821
Adams3184
Unassigned00
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 27°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Austin
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Charles City
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Several days of mild weather expected
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

SAW: Kasson-Mantorville KoMettes

Image

Local nonprofit takes huge hit during pandemic

Image

Johnson and Johnson Vaccine arrives

Image

OMC thankful for Kid's Cup and generous donations

Image

Aaron's Wednesday Night Forecast

Image

Aaron's Wednesday Evening Forecast

Image

Minnesota lawmakers consider bill to narrow pay gap

Image

Fiber optic network coming to Mason City

Image

Fewer colonoscopies done during pandemic

Image

Preventing pay discrimination act

Community Events