Martin County double homicide suspect Austin Harrouff now awake and responsive

Posted at 1:08 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-27 00:19:20-04

Martin County double homicide suspect Austin Harrouff has regained consciousness and is now awake and responsive, according to a news release Friday from the sheriff's office.  

"Slowly but surely, he's coming back online," says Sheriff William Snyder.

Officials said Friday that Harrouff can't speak, but smiled at his mother.  Harrouff has not been able to provide a statement to investigators.

Sheriff Snyder is anxious to hear his story, but is also awaiting tests done by the FBI on whether drugs are involved.

"They will begin the process of determining if any substance would have been in our suspects blood," says Snyder.

According to officials, he may be released from the hospital this weekend, depending on his condition. 

After his release, Harrouff will be transported to the Martin County Jail. 

RELATED: More coverage of the case

Harrouff, a 19-year-old Florida State University student, is accused of killing John Joseph Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Karen Mishcon, 53, on Aug. 15. 

Detectives said Harrouff was found biting the face of Stevens when they arrived at the couple's home the night of the killings.

Austin Harrouff's father speaks with Dr. Phil

On Thursday, the suspect’s father, Dr. Wade Harrouff, spoke on the “Dr. Phil Show” about the attacks.

"What do you say to their family?” Dr. Phil asked Wade Harrouff.

“It's the worst thing I could ever think of. It's the biggest nightmare I could ever dream of," said Wade Harrouff. "He's such a good person. He would never knowingly do something like that."

In the interview, Wade Harrouff claimed his son underwent a dramatic personality change two weeks before the attack.

Watch a clip of the interview with Dr. Phil below: