In Rome, Italy, a 25-year-old man has been accused of trying to murder his entire family with poison. Rumors are circulating that he is part of a cult that may have driven him to murder.
“Punish the Impure”
Mattia Del Zotto was arrested on Thursday after months of speculation in relation to the poisoning of his family. Del Zotto’s home was searched and receipts for thallium were found.
Del Zotto’s grandparents died in late October with traces of thallium in their systems. His aunt also passed away from the poison. At least five other members of Del Zotto’s family developed have developed thallium poisoning symptoms and are in the hospital, some with neurological issues.
Traces of thallium were found in tea that Del Zotto had given to his family members.
Del Zotto has reportedly confessed to the poisoning, saying that he wished to “punish the impure.” Del Zotto currently sits in jail on suspicion of poisoning his family.
Del Zotto’s mother is said to have told authorities she was concerned he may have joined some sort of religious cult.
What Is Thallium Poisoning?
Thallium is a highly toxic substance not found in nature. It’s a byproduct of the refining of heavy metal sulfide ores.
When dissolved in water, it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, leading to its nickname of the poisoner’s poison. Depending on the dose, thallium poisoning can be slow acting and painful.
Thallium can cause a wide range of symptoms, so thallium poisoning can be mistaken for other diseases and illnesses. It can cause hair loss as well as a number of neurological issues.
It was once used as an ingredient in rat poison due to its effectiveness in the rodent not being able to detect the poison and also how quickly it can dispatch the rat depending on the dose. Most countries, including the United States, now prohibit its use.
Thallium poisoning can only be cured by the compound called Prussian blue.