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Police Blame Vendetta by 14-Year-Old Girl for Picnic Poisoning

September 26, 1990

AUBURN, Wash. (AP) _ A 14-year-old girl took a page from the script of the movie ″Heathers″ in plotting revenge against two 11-year-old playmates she allegedly fed poisoned picnic fare, police said Tuesday.

Other girls invited to the picnic and croquet party were aware that a peanut butter sandwich had been laced with rat poison and some grape drink mixed with a household cleanser, police spokesman Tony Burtt said.

They stood by while the victims tasted the poisoned food and drink Sept. 16, and didn’t report the plot until afterward, police said. Then the children told their parents.

One 11-year-old girl vomited after tasting the grape-flavored drink and the other girl suffered stomach pains after taking several bites of the tainted sandwich, police said. Neither had any serious aftereffects.

None of the children was identified. The mother of the 14-year-old denied that her daughter planned the poisoning. In an interview for Wednesday’s editions of the Valley Daily News, she blamed two other 11-year- old playmates at the picnic. The paper withheld the mother’s name to avoid identifying the children.

″At the very least, they were more than just witnesses,″ she said.

Burtt agreed the 11-year-olds may have been involved, but said investigators believe the teen-ager staged the picnic to get revenge.

A dispute over possession of a ″Heathers″ videotape and clothing and jewelry allegedly taken by one of the victims prompted the poisoning, he said. Friends told police the teen-age girl said she got the idea from the plot of ″Heathers,″ an R-rated dark comedy featuring teen-age murder and a tight clique of popular girls.

In the film, the leader of the in-crowd is killed with household poisons. The movie opens and closes with characters playing croquet.

Two girls told investigators they were at the 14-year-old’s home the day she came up with the plan for the picnic, Burtt said.

The teen-ager allegedly made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and put them in plastic bags. Rat poison was hidden in one sandwich, which was cut and wrapped differently so it could be picked from the others.

The girl told her friends she expected the food to make the girls sick but not to seriously harm them, other children later told police.

No charges have been filed pending completion of the police investigation, said Dan Donohoe of the King County prosecutor’s office. It was being investigated as a possible criminal assault, police said.

The food was seized as evidence.

″It’s scary because the girl that’s supposed to have done all this was a friend of my daughter’s,″ the mother of the girl who got the grape drink told the newspaper. ″They’ve been good friends for a year, and they used to spend the night at each other’s houses.″

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