Man commits suicide after using "bath salt"

By: Brandon Lewis Email
By: Brandon Lewis Email

The family of Denny Kurzhal, 36, blames "bath salt" for causing the psychotic episode when he committed suicide.

Kurzhal worked as a carpenter, but was laid off during the recession. He struggled to find work recently and began to lose hope.

"He got to the point where he was not being very productive and he heard about this and he says it gives you energy and it even helped him lose weight and he says mom maybe you even want to try it," said Susan Davis, Kurzhal's mother.

Davis and the rest of the family was suspicious of the bath salt, but wasn't initially concerned until they noticed his weight dropping just two months after he began using the "legal" product.

"Within two month's period he went from 210 lbs to 160 lbs and his eyes were sunk in we have pictures of him before and after and it's amazing what that stuff did to him in two months," said Jane Wawrzynski, Kurzhal's aunt.

Shortly after he began hallucinating. Twice, he showed up at his sister's home in South Bend claiming agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were watching him eat lunch and were following him around town.

"There's no mental issue, so I sat up and I went on my porch and I watched my brother drive off on his motorcycle. I'm waiting, waiting, waiting, there was nobody there. He was not in reality, but he told me, you need to open your eyes. You'll see things that normal people don't see," said Emily Kurzhal, Denny's sister.

Denny's family said he was hooked on the bath salt and couldn't see how they were affecting his mind. They repeatedly tried to get him to see doctors, but were unable to convince him to get treatment.

"Denny was out in the yard standing there looking at the trees [last Wednesday] and his cousin goes 'Denny what are you doing' and he goes 'I'm looking for a place to hang myself' and he left him there think. People don't take it serious. You should never take someone's call like that. That's a cry for help," said Davis.

The following day, Denny went into his garage, closed the door, turned on his motorcycle and laid down. He was overcome by the fumes and discovered by a neighbor on Saturday.

"To parents, to kids that are on it: this is a serious psychotic drug and it's killing people and it killed my nephew," said Wawrzynski.

A ban on many chemicals found in bath salt will take effect July 1st, but Denny's family fears many will commit suicide before then, or will hoard it until after July 1st.

Wawrzynski said she is going to area mini-marts and other stores known to carry bath salt and other synthetic drugs and asking them to stop selling the product.

According to the Michigan City Police Department, the American Association of Poison Control reported it received 1,241 calls relating to bath salt in the first three months of 2011. Last year they received only 298.

Bath Salt is also known as Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Cloud 9, Energy 1, Explosion, Meow Meow, Bubbles and Bolivian Bath, among other names.

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