STRONGSVILLE -- Feds say dumped liquid cyanide was the cause of the fish kill in April in the East Branch of the Rocky River
Federal officials have indicted Renato Montorsi, 79, and his wife, Teresina, 74, both of Grafton. He owns the Kennedy Mint Company in Strongsville.
Federal officials say that on April 17, the trash collectors that service Kennedy Mint refused to take the 55-gallon drum of liquid cyanide, a drum that had a skull and crossbones (indicating poison) on the side of the drum.
Federal officials said that, on April 18, Renato Montorsi then dragged the barrel over to a storm drain in his company's parking lot, used a tool to poke a hole in the bottom the drum until it began leaking and the contents then drained into the storm sewer, which, in turn, flowed into the East Branch of the Rocky River.
On April 22, the dead fish began appearing in the river. Federal officials now say the exact number of fish killed is 30,893.
U.S. Attorneys indicted the husband for violation of the Clean Water Act, conspiracy and two counts of obstruction of justice.
His wife was charged with three counts of conspiracy and two counts of obstruction of justice. She allegedly tried to stall the EPA workers from entering the facility and inspecting the drums.
Channel 3 tried to reach Mr. and Mrs. Montorsi at Kennedy Mint, and at home in Grafton. Phone messages have not yet been returned.
The Montorsis will likely appear in court next week, an offical said.
People who live down stream from the East Branch of the Rocky River are concerned that someone would pollute their water.
"30,000 fish. It'd be a concern, since Strongsville is so close," said Kyle Kiffer, who lives in Berea.
According to a federal spokesman, cyanide dilutes quickly. By the time the contamination would have moved five miles down stream to the water treatment plant, the EPA says all traces would have dissipated.
John Kasper, who bikes at the Metropark, says the suspects deserve jail time.
"They risked people's lives. There could have been little kids in that river. I think everyone knows cyanide is toxic," Kasper said.