updated 6/2/2004 10:28:38 AM ET 2004-06-02T14:28:38

A woman who claimed she found a mouse in her soup while celebrating Mother’s Day at a Cracker Barrel restaurant was accused with her son of planting the rodent and attempting to extort money from the company.

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Carla Patterson, 36, and Ricky Patterson, 20, were charged Tuesday with attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit a felony as they sought money from Cracker Barrel, said Howard Gwynn, the commonwealth’s attorney in Newport News.

Patterson claimed she had already eaten some of her vegetable soup when she scooped up the mouse on May 8, the day before Mother’s Day.

The discovery prompted the 500-store chain to stop serving vegetable soup nationwide, but a company investigation discovered the mouse did not originate from the Cracker Barrel kitchen.

“We learned that the mouse died from a fractured skull before it entered the soup,” Cracker Barrel spokeswoman Julie Davis said. In addition, the animal had no soup in its lungs, nor had it been cooked — signs it had been dropped in the soup after its death, she said.

The company took its suspicions to prosecutors last week.

Patterson and her son had sought $500,000 from Cracker Barrel, Davis said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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