Motel Anthrax Hoax Terrifies Family

By: Mike McCarthy, Reporter
By: Mike McCarthy, Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Police are releasing new information on an Easter weekend anthrax scare at a Knoxville motel that really gave a Tennessee family a big scare.

Derek and Linda Groton and their grandson checked into the Motel 6 on Cracker Barrel Lane Friday night.

Attorney Mark Hartsoe says just after they checked into room 123, they got a phone call from the Knoxville Fire Department that said they may have been exposed to anthrax.

The family says they had to strip down, shower, and put on hazmat suits.

The Grotons also had go to UT Medical Center for tests.

Now according to police reports, earlier that same day a maid went into the room, smelled an odor, and found a note.

Hartsoe says the letter read, "are you itching yet? This room is contaminated with anthrax."

The report says the maid turned the note into her manager, and also went to the hospital.

Derek says the scare turned what was supposed to be a fun night out to dinner into a nightmare.

"It was terrifying. It was like being sealed off in a death chamber more or less because we couldn't leave it and we...there was no way out and we were in there for over an hour, you know, thinking that we were going to die. It was the most unbelievable experience I've ever had in my life." Derek Groton says.

Hartsoe says the family plans to file a lawsuit against Motel 6.

Preliminary tests show the family was not in fact exposed to anthrax.

We called Motel 6, but no one was available for comment.

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