Woman Charged for Putting Visine in Drinks

Rebecca and Arielle Clauser

Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Daniel Heffner

Rockbridge Co.,VA - A Buchanan woman is charged with poisoning one of her co-workers' drinks.

Santana Helms, 23, will face a grand jury in September. The Rockbridge County Commonwealth attorney says Helms put Visine in the employees' drinks in May at the Natural Bridge gift shop.

Visine poisoning can cause blurred vision, seizures and even cause a coma. A Natural Bridge employee who worked with Helms said she was in a lot of pain for a couple of days. Later, she found out the sickness was caused by Visine poisoning.

"I trusted this person. I guess that's why you can't trust anyone," said Arielle Clauser.

It's a defense mechanism Arielle Clauser, 17, learned after coming down with a mysterious illness at work.

"I was very jittery. I couldn't eat. I didn't have an appetite," said Clauser.

For about four days she felt weak, had headaches, and stomach pains.

"I thought maybe it was sugar diabetes because it runs in our family," said Rebecca Clauser, Arielle's mom.

A notice from the Natural Bridge Human Resources Department made Arielle's mom think otherwise.

"We were told right away they were launching an investigation,"said Rebecca Clauser.

The company was looking into claims that someone put Visine in employee's sodas. After the investigation, Natural Bridge fired Helms and turned over the case to authorities. Helms is now charged with a felony for altering a drink or food.

"I was shocked of course. Then I was angry and upset," said Rebecca Clauser.

Rebecca's now encouraging everyone to be on watch at work.

If you are in a workplace, put a top on your bottle and know where your drinks are," said Rebecca Clauser.

Arielle says she's ready to move on and get back to her job at Natural Bridge.

"I love it there. It's very cool. You see people from all over of the world. You get to talk with a lot of different people," said Arielle Clauser.

Helms have been released on bond and will face a grand jury in September.