With the fortieth anniversary of the 1982 Tylenol case coming near, the Tribune introduced an in-depth investigation into why the murders that each terrified and fascinated the rustic have by no means been solved.
Installments in a six-part newspaper collection and eight-part podcast will likely be launched on-line every Thursday thru October, with print variations of the collection on Sundays. Learn all of it at chicagotribune.com/tylenolmurders.
The eight-part podcast, “Unsealed: The Tylenol Murders,” is a part of a partnership between the Tribune and At Will Media, in affiliation with audiochuck. Click on to subscribe and concentrate on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Amazon track, Pandora or Stitcher.
Each the collection and the podcast get started via recounting the chaotic 24-hour length on Sept. 29, 1982, through which seven other folks ingested Tylenol drugs laced with potassium cyanide.
The 1982 poisonings left seven other folks lifeless and panicked the country. Extensively considered an act of home terrorism — a time period no longer within the nation’s vernacular on the time — the murders resulted in tamper-evident packaging, copycat killings and myths about tainted Halloween sweet.
The Tylenol case is a decadeslong tale of heartbreak, anger and frustration. It’s a tale with out an finishing, with out closure for the ones concerned.
And that is the way it starts.
Inside of hours of discovering cyanide in Tylenol drugs that killed 3 other folks within the northwest suburbs, the Prepare dinner County clinical examiner’s workplace held a information convention to warn other folks concerning the doable poison of their medication cupboards. The U.S. Meals and Drug Management then cautioned the general public in opposition to taking the ache reliever in tablet shape.
In Illinois, some cities started pulling bottles from the shop cabinets and despatched law enforcement officials down the road with bullhorns encouraging other folks to throw out their Tylenol. Police departments and hearth stations started gathering bottles, as smartly.
And an enormous legal investigation used to be quickly underway.
Because the fortieth anniversary of the 1982 Tylenol murders approaches, investigators are operating with prosecutors on a now-or-maybe-never effort to carry an established suspect chargeable for the poisonings that killed seven other folks within the Chicago space, the Tribune has discovered.
This summer season’s conferences mark the most recent effort to pin the unsolved killings on James W. Lewis, a former Chicago resident who used to be convicted years in the past of looking to extort $1 million from Johnson & Johnson amid a world panic that arose after the sufferers took cyanide-laced drugs. He has denied accountability for the poisonings.
On the core of the Tylenol case are seven other folks, from Elk Grove Village to Chicago, who died just because they took some Additional-Energy Tylenol for his or her aches and pains. Their deaths left youngsters, spouses, folks, siblings and pals to mourn.
Here’s how the murders spread out 40 years in the past over a number of days in overdue September, and a remembrance of every particular person.
Journalists interviewed greater than 150 other folks, lots of whom are retired however proceed to offer their time and data to investigators nonetheless operating the case. The group additionally reviewed tens of hundreds of pages of information, together with sealed affidavits and different confidential paperwork that define legislation enforcement’s perfect proof.