Cruise Bruise

Samantha Gandy Monroe Louisiana
Daughter Toxic Crab's Eye Necklace Poisoning

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Dream San Juan, Puerto Rico January 13 2016

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Samantha Gandy Monroe Louisiana Daughter Near Death
Jamaica Toxic Crab's Eye Necklace Poisoning

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Dream San Juan, Puerto Rico January 13 2016


Samantha Gandy, 29, from Monroe, Louisiana says she woke up aboard Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Dream on Wednesday January 13, 2016 to find her daughter, Audrey, 2, sick from suspected poisoning.

Audrey had a fever with drooling and was taken to the cruise ship infirmary for treatment. When the cruise ship docked the next day in San Juan, Puerto Rico Gandy took her daughter to a hospital in port. She says tests confirmed the child had been poisoned by a crab's eye necklace.

The Louisiana mother said that Audrey swallowed beads from a crab's eye necklace her grandmother Jeri Howlett Gandy got from a vendor at the dock in Montego Bay, Jamaica the last time they were in Jamaica.

Samantha Gandy and mother Jeri Howlett Gandy are co- owners at medical research company Duplitrans Inc. Duplitrans is medical laboratory in Monroe, Louisiana involved in Cytokine and organ transplant research.

Samantha Gandy posted on her Facebook page, "So I know some of my friends out there might not be the strongest believers in Christ but if any one of them could have been in that emergency room with us the other day they would have hit their knees! As Audrey was laying there seriously inches close to death my mom and I joined hands to pray and as soon as we were finished Audrey opened her eyes and could respond once again! God is soooooo good!!"

Jeri Howlett Gandy post on Facebook, "That was a horrifying few days. We were absolutely scared to death, we shed a lot of tears, and prayed a LOT! When she was at her worst, the doc said she was close to death. She has not vomited today!"

Seeds from the toxic crab eye plant are used in jewelry making. Crab's eye or Abrus precatoriu is a slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges. It is a legume with long, pinnate-leafleted leaves is commonly found in the Caribbean and is toxic and can be fatal if swallowed.The colorful seeds, normally red, white or red and black look similar to a lady bug. The seeds are used as beads in jewelry in Caribbean nations which can be a problem for young children who may suck or chew on a necklace or put the beads in their mouth. Because the beads have a hole in them, the toxin easily enters the blood system.

Symptoms are identical to those of ricin, except abrin is more toxic. Common symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, convulsions, liver failure, and death, usually after several days. Carnival Dream embarks from New Orleans for Caribbean cruises on Sundays.

Ricin is a toxic biological weapon that has been used in numerous crimes. On May 29, 2013 two anonymous letters were sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of it.Another was sent to the offices of Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington DC. A letter containing ricin was also sent to American President Barack Obama at the same time. Shannon Richardson pled guilty to the crime. On July 16, 2014, Richardson was sentenced to 18 years in prison plus a restitution fine of $367,000.

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  • Supporting Information & Resources:

  • Samantha Gandy Daughter Jamaica Jewelry Poisoning Carnival Dream January 13, 2016
  • Abrus Precatorius Toxin

  • Featured or New Cruise Ship Illness

    Cruise Bruise Investigations - Cruise Ship Illness

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    External Resources & Credits
  • Abrus Precatorius (Crab's Eye Plant) Wikipedia Page
  • Ricin Wikipedia Page