Police investigate new lead in 'Chili Finger' case; Ayala abandons lawsuit

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

San Jose, California police are investigating a new lead in the Wendy's "Chili Finger" case. The San Jose Mercury News is reporting a spotted leopard tore off part of a finger from an owner of exotic animals, Sandy Allman, in Pahrump, Nevada. The portion of Allman's torn off finger was approximately the same size - 1 1/2-inches long - as the one which Las Vegas resident Anna Ayala found in a cup of chili, at a San Jose Wendy's outlet on Monterey Highway on March 22.

Pahrump is approximately 45 miles away from Las Vegas.

"What are the odds?" Carol Asvestas told the San Jose Mercury News. Asvestas says she witnessed the leopard tear off the finger and owns an exotic animal sanctuary. She reported the incident to a hotline run by Wendy's, which is offering US$50,000 for information leading to the origin of the finger.

"Somebody might be able to say it looks the same but scientifically to say it's the same, you'd have to do DNA testing," Captain Bob Dixon, of the Santa Clara County Sheriff-Coroner's Office, told the San Jose Mercury News.

Cindy Carroccio told the San Jose Mercury News that the finger was not reattached, and that the clinic "gave it back to her (Allman) in a little bag of ice."

Ayala drops lawsuit

On the same day the Pahrump exotic animal lead was announced, Anna Ayala decided to drop her lawsuit against Wendy's.

The lawsuit "has caused her great emotional distress and continues to be difficult emotionally," Jeffrey Janoff, Ayala's attorney told the Associated Press. Janoff declined to provide more of an explanation for why he was no longer involved with the case. He denied that there was any connection to the new lead from Pahrump.

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