The mother of a Chicago man who died after eating poisonous seeds he ordered online is warning others to beware of the deadly poison.
22-year-old Lucia Anderson, who was born Bernard McCalip, suffered a prolonged and painful death after eating the poisonous seeds he ordered from Thailand.
Natosha Anderson, 40, spoke out about Lucia Anderson's horrific death as a warning to others.
Anderson, who used male pronouns to describe her son, said he lay on the floor for hours, writhing in pain and vomiting.
"He said, 'I can't feel my heart.' And I said, 'What's wrong? What's going on?' And he said, 'I took a pong seed.' And I said, 'A what? What is that?'" Anderson said. "The police, the paramedics, they didn't even know, no one knew."
Cerbera odollam is a species of plant indigenous to India and outer parts of southeast Asia. C. odollam grows on trees commonly known as the suicide trees.
The fruit contains a toxin similar to the heart medication Digoxin that blocks calcium channels in the heart leading to heart failure.
Anderson said her son ordered the $5 Cerbera Odollam (pong pong) seeds online to commit suicide after being bullied online when he came out as a male-to-female transgender.
"You feel like you're the closest thing – you think you would see something, but people who are depressed, they have a good way of hiding things," she said.
The young man was transported to Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Hammond, Indiana, where he died from heart failure on February 15.
"I’m pretty sure he thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn’t," she said. "He died in pain. It was slow, and it was painful."
She added: "I think if I can save one person or make one person aware of what's going on and what people are selling," she said. "If I can save one life, just one."