The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in a statement Thursday that 10-year-old Peyton McCaughey’s sickness was a “pesticide-related illness and injury.” The boy’s Palm City home was fumigated on Aug. 14.
The report said Sunland Pest Control, which was subcontracted by Terminix, could not provide investigators with working gas meters when asked. The meters ensure that it is safe to reenter the home.
Attorney Bill Williams, who is representing the McCaughey family, told NBC News on Thursday that the family filed a lawsuit claiming that Terminix and Sunland failed to verify that the home was safe before permitting the family to go back.
According to the complaint, Peyton McCaughey “sustained a catastrophic brain injury,” after Terminix and Sunland “failed to properly make certain” the home was safe to enter. The lawsuit also alleges Sunland did not properly ventilate the home after chemicals used to kill the termites were used.
The family was allowed to reenter the house Aug. 16 and fell ill. Peyton had the most severe symptoms, including slurred speech and muscle contractions. He remains at a South Florida rehabilitation facility, Williams said.
A Terminix spokesperson said on Thursday its thoughts and prayers are with the family, however company policy prevents it from commenting on pending litigation. The company said Sunland was its subcontractor. Sunland Pest Control did not return a request for comment.
Aaron Keller, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture, said that the department suspended Sunland Pest Control’s license on Wednesday.
“The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services executed a suspension order against Sunland Pest Control. We will continue to build our administrative case against Sunland Pest Control,” Aaron Keller, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture, said.
McCaughey’s uncle Ed Gribben spoke to NBC affiliate WPTV just before the results of the state investigation were released and said his nephew requires around the clock care.
“It’s hopeful and encouraging that he has made some improvement but he’s nowhere near the kid that he used to be,” Gribben said.