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Published: Monday, 9/29/2003

3 of 4 students back home after eating toxic seeds

LIMA, Ohio — Three Allen County high school students who ingested toxic plant seeds were released yesterday from a Lima hospital, while a fourth was on life support at a Cleveland medical center, police said.

Matthew Day, 18, of Fort Shawnee was transferred Saturday night from St. Rita's Medical Center, where he had been in critical condition, to the Cleveland Clinic, according to the Lima hospital. His condition at the Cleveland facility was unavailable.

Perry Williams, 18, and two 17-year-old boys, all from Shawnee Township, were discharged two days after being hospitalized in critical condition. Police have declined to identify the 17-year-olds.

All four became ill after eating the seeds of a hallucinogenic and toxic wild plant, Jimson weed, police said. Jimson weed is a wild plant whose roots, stems, leaves, and seeds contain a poisonous narcotic substance called stramonium.

Ingesting it is not illegal, despite its harmful effects, authorities said.

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