10-Year-Old Coughs Blood After Restaurant Serves Poisoned Apple Juice At B-Day

by Alexandra Strickler

A 10-year-old boy coughed up blood after his little sister vomited from a Pennsylvania restaurant's contaminated apple juice

Richie Zaragoza and 4-year-old Ginaya Mendoza were taken to the hospital on March 3 after receiving the juice at Star Buffet & Grill in Lancaster. Richie spent the night in the intensive care unit.

His mother, Virginia Davis, 32, told Lancaster Online,

When he drank the apple juice he'd been served he just started screaming, 'It burns, it burns.'

Ginaya, who drank the apple juice before Richie, quickly started vomiting and feeling pain in her stomach as soon as it was in her system.

According to, Davis' brother-in-law, Luis Mercado, tried the juice himself. Just like the two children, he tasted acid in the drink and spit up blood.

Over the weekend, East Lampeter Township police commissioned tests on the apple juice, though the full results are not yet known. A test from Hershey Medical Center has revealed methanol to be at least one of the substances present in the contaminated drinks.

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The restaurant manager, Steven Weng, claims to have no idea how the chemicals, which are believed to be some form of acid, found their way into the children's drinks. The apple juice was reportedly bought at a local supermarket and was not served directly by the Star Buffet & Grill.

Davis said,

How do you take your kids out and expect this to happen? We were supposed to be celebrating his birthday.

She and Richie's father, Richard Zaragoza Sr., said their son has already been through a lot in his life, as he suffers from cystic fibrosis and diabetes.


Fortunately, Richie's burns were confined to his throat and did not reach his stomach. However, doctors say he will not be able to eat for food a week, according to Penn Live. Doctors at Penn State Children's Hospital told Davis that her son would need to remain under sedation for several days before he can return home. Ginaya is doing better and is no longer sedated.

Citations: Boy, 10, and his 4-year-old sister start coughing up blood after they drink apple juice contaminated with chemicals during a birthday meal at restaurant (MailOnline), Children who drank caustic substance in critical but stable condition after night in intensive care (Lancaster Online), Two children hospitalized for burns to mouth, throat after drinking juice (