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Chimpanzee Who Mauled Woman Was On Anti-Anxiety Drug Xanax

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The Hartford Courant
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Travis the chimpanzee — whose presence in a Stamford home had been called an “accident waiting to happen” months before he attacked Charla Nash — had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

It is not clear what role — if any — the drug played in the attack or why Travis might have been given Xanax. The mauling left Nash, 55, blind, with a brain injury, severe damage to her face and the loss of both hands. She is being treated at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where doctors say that it could take two years and numerous surgeries to reconstruct her face.

Stamford police shot and killed Travis after the attack. The Xanax was discovered in blood work.


Authorities are still deciding whether to file criminal charges against Travis’ owner, Sandra Herold, 71. In the days after the attack, Herold told conflicting stories about whether she gave the chimpanzee Xanax just before the attack, and police say the drug was not prescribed to Travis.

Herold apparently called Nash on the day of the attack because she needed help shepherding the chimp into her house.

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This article was posted: Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 3:53 am

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