September, October 1982. Chicago Metropolitan Area, Illinois. A series of sudden deaths in the Chicago metropolitan area in 1982 resulted in an investigation that traced the deaths to tainted Tylenol capsules. At that time there was no tamper proof packaging on pain medication bottles which made it difficult to figure out where the capsules had been laced. Who would have done such a thing and why did they do it? Join us as we try to sort through this mysterious case that had a profound effect on the trust we put into the pills that we buy.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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how an extent vacations our eye tonight's case erin
something that we ve been planning for a while. Today we take for granted d
protection seals on everything we consume from medications to orange juice. Before these precautions were put into effect, some one exploited this situation for reasons we can only speculate about and caused more.
the bull deaths. So what are we talking about tonight? Iron tonight, we're too
king about the tylenol murders,
Now there are a lot of podcast set of covered. This does a lot.
information out there. So we're gonna do our best. Do it different.
And give you some information that you might not have known before, but if you ve followed
this case? If you know about this case and it listen to,
gillian podcast about it. You know it like.
back your hand, our eye
and so when did this
happen and where nineteen eighty two
the chicago metropolitan area, a twelve year old,
girl named Mary kellerman wakes up with cold like symptoms, maybe a sore throat, she not feeling well. So she asks her parents if she can stay home from school and rest, but as what it normally happen
you need to take something you're experiencing symptoms are making you feel uncomfortable. You take perhaps a pain reliever backing
Eighteen. Eighty two, while we're typically be the pain
you are right to be aspirin or tylenol,
so the two major ones so this is set
number: twenty, ninth, it's wednesday, nineteen eighty to her parents and give her a tylenol and shortly thereafter her father, Dennis kellerman, tells her mother. I heard her go into the bathroom. I heard her closed the door. Then I heard something
I went to the bathroom door and called to her Mary. Are you ok? Well, he didn't want
just open the door, but because he was afraid that something
What happened? He opened the door and that's where they find
Twelve year old daughter on the floor, unresponsive.
they assume the worst assume,
he's having a seizure, assume she's here,
some sort of reaction to something, but they dont know
So they call nine one one. There was a fire
I'd or from the outgrowth village fire department who said that there were multiple people there with knowledge about how to combat
certain scenarios that may have occurred here so as he puts it, they were pulling whenever they could out of their drug box
to try and save her life
because they knew they had to act fast. She was slipping away, will actually she was gone, they were trying their best to try and bring her back and nothing. So this was a mystery. She literally just collapsed after going into the bathroom twelve year old children
don't just die in other trying to see if she had a seizure, they're trying to say she had some sort of diabetic attack there trying to see if she had a heart attack or if she had a whole on her heart. There are going through a whole litany of tests, but nobody's thinking.
She's been murdered. It was a six thirty in the morning when she woke up and she didn't feel well. It was about
three and a half hours later that she was pronounced dead at
medical center and alcohol village. At this point now
when's thinking anything other than this is a tragedy. She died
for some unknown reason, will try figured out by
There's no alarm here in terms of the public's in trouble right now, and they even asked what medications had she taken lately they said tylenol and they said whatever one textile and also that didn't even register with anyone.
at noon that same day a man named Adam janis
twenty seven year old postal worker in Arlington heights. He was sick that day cold the flu, whatever
And he decided he was gonna stay home gesine feel good. He stopped by the local store picked up. Some tylenol, he came home had lunch,
said. A men take some talent. Congo lay down a couple of minutes later
He came staggering out into the kitchen and collapsed. His kids who had picked up from preschool have to notify emergency services. They would show up, they will be unable to resuscitate him. They think it's cardiac arrest or he had a heart attack and his family is just devastated. They just cannot accept this. They want an explanation, but it's really hard diagnosis he's twenty seven years old. I know you can have
have a cardiac arrest it any age basically, but we don't think of twenty seven year olds is having this condition. You know I mean this is not an event that you would figure twenty seven year old would suffer from some mystery and also keep in mind. There's no one saying oh
girl collapse. Now this man collapse that's happening right now. This is totally unconnected. So far in the media, Adams family comes to us
house, because a family member has just died. This is so fast and they want to plan his funeral their morning together
Adams younger brother stanley, is there. He has chronic back pain and his wife, whose probably been crying all day because of this horrible event has a headache. So stanley asks his wife teresa to go. Get him some tylenol she comes out gives him too.
He takes to immediately stanley goes down and just minutes after that, Teresa will collapse. Also, so we have three family members all
who have died or are going to die because they took tylenol in this household and even when the call went out that they needed emergency assistance and they figured out o.
wait we're going back to the house for that man collapsed. They thought, oh, maybe the parents are suffering from
something because of the immense stress that their feeling from s right there thinking
They must be having a problem related to this event, but now it's the brother and his wife and their twenty five and nineteen.
His old. So now we have three
people under the age of thirty are collapsing and dying. They even thought for us
can it might have been carbon monoxide poisoning cause? So what are the chances of three people dying right there, and
again. Why would tylenol be an issue there are making the can
action and who would but just in earlier that day, because this went down some time after five p m before four p m in
wingfield, a twenty. Seven year old woman by the name of mary reiner head just recently given birth to her fourth child,
She wasn't feeling well. She took tylenol she'd been to the hospital a week before gave birth
probably discharged her a few days after that she'd only been home a few days, something we didn't mention, but it's worth noting here is up until this point. All of these people had bought extra staff,
tylenol. Now, interestingly, he think. Ok, well, there's something wrong with the extra strict tylenol mary
She actually had a bottle of regular tylenol, but she had multiple extra strength capsules inside of it.
And were not exactly sure where she got. Those from a lot of people speculate that the hospital discharged her with some extra string and she merely
put them in the bottle, but did somebody else in the household by extra strength, and then she took some out of that body.
and put it in our own regular strength bottle. We gotta speculate here, but this kind of throws a ranch in the gears. Sixth
bpm. This is the same day: Mary mcfarland
when you're old resident of Elmhurst is tat.
In her co workers that she doesn't feel well. She's got a pretty bad headache. She works for a phone company, hey I used to work for a phone company. It can give you a headache. It's reported that she went in the back room and told her coworkers. Add don't worry about it. I got some tylenol on me I'll. Take one and then minutes later she's on the floor down
so again there's this idea that they'll look around the house look around the workplace in each of these.
cases there looking to see, if there's anything that stands out as being a poison or anything that
have been a danger if it was combined with something else, and yet in these cases they keep finding tylenol
is just it's over the counter medication, its hiding in plain sight, but why would you make that connection
Now this nurse, her name was nurse Janson. She was talking about the janis family and she said that when she was looking at the bottle of town all she counted and found it
were six capsules missing out of the bottle and since three p
who had died in that house, and it was said that they are
taken tylenol the master
no come together here, yeah again, it's it's a hurried connection to make and their starting to do it, but the damages
I done the evils already been: let out of the bottle so to speak later that night, around nine hundred and thirty p dot m a flight attendant thirty five year old hall of prince stops at a walgreens and buys tylenol. She just got off a flight, you know, hey, I'm sure the decompression can give you a headache and mess you up. She gets tylenol like we all do she gets home and it's speculated that she took it that,
no one will hear from paula for several days. Her friends will call she's no show at work. So there's welfare check.
the police show up at her house and they find her dead on the floor, so that was Friday October first, when they discovered paula princes body in her apartment
they found her right near by on the vanity. They found an open bottle of tylenol,
now. I already mentioned the nurse Jensen Helen
sin is the one that really was
Putting this together in her head- and she was saying, I think it's the tylenol
but everyone around her is saying talent. All isn't harmful. We're not fight
during the whole bottle empty. I mean this
is literally a pillar two or five there's nothing about the town,
that's really causing anyone any concern, but nurse Jensen is saying we are finding it at every,
One of these scenes it seems like it must be connected. Somehow she had brought one of the bottles with her to the house.
It's obviously there not o dealing on it, and even if you do take too much tylenol, it's gonna cause like liver failure.
First, it's a long drawn out process you're not going to drop dead. The way these people have now
because of the strange seeing with three people dying at the janis house. They brought in a toxicologist, thank god,
And so they started checking at the beginning. They checked for the victims, three
from the genus family and then Paula prince, they slowly start to figure out that this is a poisoning and not an overdose, not some other external factor so earn they ve made a link made a connection. They think it's the title,
what are they do? The mayor decides to have all the tylenol taken off the shelves in Chicago.
Because all these deaths are happening in the chicago area you can
and how such an announcement my cause, a panic that see. This is where you know
Europe's politician or if you're in the government- and you have to manage this situation, you might have a problem with it me if you
Just tell everyone: hey, don't take we're going to pull whirlpool of michel's. Don't take it right now,
That's just letting everyone! No don't do this, because you will be a risk and we're just trying to look out for your safety. But there's that idea. It's gonna like
movie jaws. When the mayor there is telling the sheriff you
and just tell everyone to get out of the water like that you're going to cause a panic? What's the priority? This is don't take the pill. Yeah yeah, it's human life and all it takes is one pill we don't know where it's coming from, so please just throw it out or return,
don't take it so over the course of a couple days. This is Monday october. Fourth, one thousand nine hundred and eighty two and then tuesday october, fifth, one thousand nine hundred and eighty two. It begins with the chicago city council, passing an ordinance that requires
packaging on all drug sold in stores there and then
calling day, Johnson and Johnson, the makers of town all recall tylenol products across the entire nation. How many bottles were recall just
its estimated thirty one million bottles, estimated street value, a hundred million dollars the street
in today's world. That would be double if not triple. So at that point, going
concern is there might be some people at home who haven't heard about
recall for some reason and go take a tylenol while the police drive around. It reminds me of the blues brothers movie, where they had this big born on top of their car, announcing their cause.
The police are going through neighborhoods near warning. People about tylenol I've heard other people suggests
I won't today's world, you just have social media, you just you know, maybe even do a an announcement, viii text text, emergency announcement
but even then sometimes I turned my phone off and I'm not paying any attention. I think they would still need to do this today. You have some grandmother who's, not online. You have to tell the people, it was
very isolated to a certain area of chicago, but they were purchased from different stores. All the victims lived in different areas of town, so it wouldn't have made sense at
we are all purchased from the same store later on. They'll start to use lot numbers to see if they had all come from the same manufacturing plant, but they actually came from different ones, so they're trying to track down where it's coming from. But
johnson and Johnson makes the right call at this point. This had blown up in the media. Some statistics say that this was second to the assassination of john F Kennedy, or
maybe second, to the challenger space shuttle explosion. This was huge news at the time, so the authorities are looking for help from the public because think about it,
will that are not connected in any way that they know of our dropping dead from tylenol, and we ve had how many victims eight so now
need help from the public. They set up hotlines they're asking the public. If you know anything anything if you ever lead, if you
Tat, if you have any information related to this, if you ve had a family member, that's been a victim need to call us, and so, according to them, they had a lot of calls coming in more
make it really even handle there were overwhelmed, dared to set up new call centres. It's at this point that an investigator he opens up multiple bottles, and he says you know the first one smells like the second one,
omens for anyone who doesn't know if you can actually detect the smell of cyanide. It smells like bitter almonds. The
investigators will start looking into several angles here. I guess how now, if you call it corporate espionage
but they thought. Maybe there was a rival company that wanted to
slander and destroy johnson and johnson. They thought disgruntled employee at johnson and Johnson makes a lot of sense
yeah right once it got under the media that this was a tylenol issue.
happens. The tylenol right town all could really take a hit over this and not recover that the stock is gonna plummet and people would maybe start buying it where's the trust, but there still trying to figure out. If whoever did this worked for, tylenol worked in a factory and contaminated the bottles, and then they got shit
doubt or if it was somebody at the walgreens stores or drug stores that did it manually there. You know so you have johnson and Johnson shutting down product production. This is costing them millions a day and
The recall is causing them over a hundred million dollars, just to figure it out.
so they actually went and got a list of employees who had been terminated from Johnson and johnson to see if that's a good place.
start maybe they're suspect, is among those names. I figure has four hundred names, it's crazy, but you know the
find somebody that they were looking at initialling right. Oh yeah, there's a lot of people that can fit the pro
I'll, so one guy they were looking at was a guy. Who was a chemist and use.
actually part of a team at johnson and Johnson. That was trying to figure out what had happened to their talcum powder. They had some issue with their talcum powder for a little while green stuff was growing on it, so they had to try and figure out why this was happening, and apparently it had something to do. With these oak pallets down in the talc mine
One guy from that team was terminated was let go and they kind of thought
Maybe this guy was upset
helping them now and then he got fired. Maybe
an issue which Anthony johnson, of course that didn't go anywhere.
as they went down. Those four hundred names are, we have remained there were, is really couldn't find anything that seem to connect to what had happened.
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calm suggestion why code jen, why, while showing
it into the primary suspects. Then earn yes, oh right, so we're gonna keep this
listen to the primary ones that were in the chicago area and not ones nation wide, because I don't put a lot of
stockin ones in seattle or in texas, or where have you
first one on our list? Was a man named roger arnold USA? Do it yourself home hobbyist chemist and he was investigated for this?
He had worked on a loading dock at one of the stores were attended, bottle had been bought and he'd even shopped at another drug store where tainted bottle was found, so he's that these too loose connection
but the father of Mary reiner. The victim was a coworker of Roger arnold,
so then there looking at this and thinking, did roger, have an issue with mary
or her father and that's his motivation, and then he just tainted a bunch of bottles to cover up who the intended target was. So arnold is a pretty good suspect here, but they can't connect him. He is a chemist, so it's plausible that he could get access to
potassium cyanide, which they have now identified as the chemical, the active killing and greed
and these bottles but they're just not able to connect anything else to him now Roger Arnold.
Under the pressure of media and being suspected of killing all these people, including a twelve year old girl, he starts to have a nervous breakdown. He blames all of this on a
our owner, who he's never met. I that's kind of weird, but rumour veils happen and you know hey. We see at all.
day on social media today, people accusing anyone of anything but arnold thinks this borrowing
is the guy that started this rumour about him being suspect. So he goes,
hangs out around the guy's bar sees, who he thinks is the bar owner and shoots that man
that actually wasn't the bar owner and it wasn't who he thought it was
so Roger arnold, under the pressure of this entire situation, has now just shot and killed a random innocent person whom he thought was the perpetrator of this
Just rumour against him he's put away on second degree murder charge and serve
in the end, half of that, so he serves fifteen years of a thirty year sentence. It's good to keep that
mine, because some other people will be sentence in this case and will serve.
About the same amount of time- and they didn't kill anybody
justin there's another name on the suspect lists. Her name is lorry dan
de and anne, and why did she make the list? Well,
he had a history of poison
attempts, and that fits the bill here, because these two
on laced with cyanide yeah. She had diluted, arsenic, rat poison, into juice boxes and rice.
be treats and may of nineteen. Eighty eight. She had mailed these out to people
and it wasn't random people, though it was people from her past. It was families she used to baby sit for it was old school teachers. Luckily, these people that cheap either showed up and offered them these juice boxes or crispy treats or mailed them. They saw tat. The box had been like tampered with. There were leaky and the rice krispies treats tasted like crap. So hey you know: how do you mess up a rice krispies tree? While she did cause she was trying to spike them with arsenic. She goes on and tries to set off a firebomb at an elementary school. Luckily, the teacher came out of the fire extinguisher and put it out. Then she goes on to drive to a local day care where cicerone laws daughter. Is she
eyes to enter the building with a gallon of gasoline to set the building on fire. Of course they stop her that there had been no peer not coming in here then. She goes on to another elementary school with multiple hand. Guns follows a boy into the bathroom and shoots him what the twenty two and then takes
She will end up going into another classroom, shooting multiple people and wounding them. So after this shooting spree erin, what did she do?
thus he took a family hostage and wounded,
other person. But at that point the gig was
I mean she wasn't going to make it out of their law enforcement at cornered her. So
she took her own life- had said that she
not herself in the mouth, so we ve kind,
gone on from the time that people people poisons and and started the
delegation which included the chicago police department,
VI other authorities, but it
on Wednesday october six, nineteen, eighty to that
a letter arrived at johnson and johnson. That really, I think, became the focal point of this case and the events
negation, and that was an extortion letter which demand
one million dollars to stop the tylenol killings. Now
demanding a million dollars, but how are they supposed to pay it and you read it
this you find out that whoever had put this letter together really didn't have a way to collect the money, at least that anyone could tell
There was no real way set up for them to collect that money. Will they gave him a bank account number which seems ridiculous because
as your exposing yourself and your identity now, but that bank account had been closed for a while. So, like you said, there wasn't any way to collect this money,
weird, but it could be that person didn't understand how that worked. I may I guess you could say that right, yeah, but either way this is.
This is someone waving their hand, essentially in saying hey, I want
involved in this case in a bad way
this an extortion letter, so they tracked down this bank account number and they find who owned it be
more and it was a man by the name of frederick Miller mackay. He it was
business man? He was actually an error to the miller brewing company and he used to run a travel agency and the chicago area in the bank account given in this letter was for that travel agency. I just think: well, that's pretty dumb. If frederick is the killer here, he just out at himself, but investigators will go to frederick and they will quest
Him they'll find out that he had a former bookkeeper by the name of Leon. Louis you used to work for the travel agency and the travel agency. I guess, went under folded and sadly, some of the pay check that he had sent out like the final paychecks had bounce because they were out of money. When investigators question frederick about this- and they said, are you the guy that killed all these people and is asking for
ransom. He denies it, but he turns ran and says. Oh I'm pretty sure. I know who did this frederick tells the investigators about lands husband, a man named James Louis. He says the guy was nuts
and he holds a grudge. His only motive would be that the czech bounced, so this guy hates me and he's trying to frame me for the tylenol killings, the check that bounds
by the way was for the amount of five hundred and eleven dollars
tried to sue mackay he
for that amount. So, let's talk about who James louis is as a teen. He had changed his adoptive mother with an axe in beat up
husband. He tried to kill himself bio, dealing on aspirin or some over the counter drug after high school he
actually went to you, I'm casey. I went to young casey too.
was there where he met and married leanne, and they had a baby with down syndrome. They ended up opening up a accounting business.
Kansas city, a man by the name of Raymond west, stop by and was one of their tax clients, and he was friends with them and actually really like their diet.
their daughter will end up passing when she's like five years old and raymond becomes a good friend of the family?
One day, Raymond west, whose friends with James
stopping by a local florists. Any complaints he's not feeling well well. At this point he disappears off the map.
and friends are looking for ramen. They cannot find em. They ask police to do a welfare check on his home. His friend is action,
at his home, and he sees that the blinds are open and he's looking inside, but I can't see anything wrong. The police just look and say you know, there's not much. We can do the next day. The same friend goes back to raymond's how
the blinds are closed and there's a note on the door, and it says raymond is out of town and if anyone has any questions you can call James Louis or the accounting firms. So this friend thinks all that's really weird. So he calls the police back and says you need a force. Your way into this guy's home, the police kick in the door and look for raymond there's no sign of em. Now Raymond's friend feels bad that the police is kicked in the door, so
He goes back to the house and installs a new door with a lock and while he's doing this James Louis walks up and says, what's going on here too,
them. We're looking for raymond and louis's and
sirs and whatever just don't add up james, you says: he's out of town you'll, see him when he gets back three weeks go by. Raymond's friend goes back to the house
He has the key to the door because he's a woman's who installed it. He goes inside and it reeks of decay. He calls the police a third time. They go.
After the house, they find a bloody launcher in the basement. They find a garbage bag full of bloody items that belong to raymond and the smells coming from upstairs. So they go
into the bedroom and there's a bloody stain on the ceiling blood is pulling up. So, of course, they go up there
and they find a decomposed body and it's determined
that it was indeed raymond west now James is question about this, because James had tried to cash check from raymond for five thousand dollars. You
unable to cash that check, because the bank tried to call raymond and say hey: did you write a check for five grand
they could get ahold of raymond, because well, raymond was dead, but the police-
I have honed in on James now they end up raiding his home his office and search his car in his car. They find garbage bags that match the ones at raymond's house and some rope. They find raymond's papers and checks with James Lewis, so they charge Lou.
with murder, but the medical examiner can determine raymond's death because his body is decomposed and louis
wasn't read his miranda rights at the time of the arrest, so they can't use anything. He said against him, and
questions about the search warrant, so they dropped the charges
James Louis and the murder of Raymond west yeah. This comes down to lock on louis aside and the fact that the authorities didn't dot their eyes and cross or tease
It's really just a missed opportunity, so law enforcement isn't giving.
Up on James Louis. There is still looking into his business and his ties. One of his business ties is a pill press machine along with some other industrial activities that could get you cyanide for anyone, like you just think, cyanide, you think it's a poison, but it's used in precious metal production paper production is a lotta different industries out there that use it so
After they raid his home again, james and his wife leave kansas city and go to chicago. They take on fake names, Robert Nancy, Richardson, that's where Nancy or Liane went to work for frederick mackay he's trial,
the agency. I know that's a really long loop back to how he's a suspect, but this is his background and I think it's there
Obviously, she gets laid off from the travel agency and her last check mountains.
and believing chicago
moving to new york, taking on
another alias of william and karen Wagner.
and there in new york. Now this is twenty five days before the first victim ends up being murdered there, not in chicago at the time of the tylenol murders, but
the police are able to take this extortion letter that's written to Johnson and johnson. They find that it was
mailed from new york and under the stamp there's a travel agency, metered stamp from mecca
he's old travel company? So they know that James Louis sent this letter to Johnson and johnson and its at that point. Where you being one of two camps, you either say well. This was an opportunity for james, though, is that,
I get rich, because now this was hitting the news he gets in that letter and-
and maybe they would offer to pay it to try and stop the killings in a minute,
is a small price to pay if they can get pills back on the shelves and start
going again right, then with a very wealthy company? The other possibility, of course, is that he did lace. Those pills with cyanide and now he's trying to collect on his terror. I'll give you a third
she's here he hated mackay. He and he was just trying to frame the guy
and the only reason why I say that is because it also written a threatening letter to ronald reagan, and he says he's frederick mackay. He at it. That's nuts.
At this point, a new york public library, calls the fbi and says we think that joy
James Lewis is here, and we think that you're looking for him and the tylenol murders he is arrested
and they charge him for extortion. Because of this letter, that's what they can.
move. They can show that he's the guy that did this. They can't show that he's together, lace, the tylenol, but just in when they bring em in he's a little too helpful, as
me well here's the thing in this is something that I don't think I would ever do. But during the interview process he's saying he didn't do this, but then the investigators, the f b, I says: well, if he did do it, how would you go about it? He illustrates for them exactly how you could do it. It's insane. Why would you
Do that and of course, when he illustrates how he would have done it there nodding like a ha. That is how you would do it yeah you just painted a brilliant picture of how it was done,
the sky had the motivation, yad the means, but the problem is by all counts. All the eye. Witnesses receipts everything.
Track shows that he was in new york at that time in october of nineteen eighty to get into how this was done well,
if you think that somebody went around to all of these drugstores opened up a bottle because it wasn't child proof and it didn't have the tamper proof label. They couldn't just drop some cyanide pills in their closed a back up and put it back on the shelf, or they could even have possibly stolen the bottles off the shelf, spike them and then return them back to the shelf. But you would have to be in chicago to do this, but when, if you go to the store now even back, then they don't does have like ten bowels of town out. They usually have a lot, so is it possible that he could have put them in the back
laughed and then over time as the bottles were purchased, they would come to the forefront. Well, the problem with that idea is they say that the cyanide would actually dissolve the capsule fairly quickly like within days, but still it's like. If it would dissolve it. This plan might have
gone very far because somebody bought the bottleneck, didn't take it for a week or two, then
Have mush they're, not gonna, take it. So that's why they put it right like the day before that the death started happening, because there are thinking he had despite the bottles at least one or two days before, and then the people bought them and took them, and that's the small window of time that they cannot put him in Chicago. But there's this connection strong connection, here's the issue I have so by all accounts. James Louis, is a con man and we'll get and as some day
dangerous things that he got into. But he didn't seem to be that bright. He was motivated, but he seemed to make mistakes, pretty glaring mistakes, and, if you look at it, this was set up were if he was going to try and collect the million dollars.
It does look more like a set up, then a collect, because how would he have collected that money again he's pointing back at mackay? He did. He pulled
off something for the first time very well, I mean they.
Pin the murders on him. But man he's the perfect fit for this crime
then supposedly he's not in town when the bottles would have had to have been put on the shelves exactly it's hard to connect the dots here, but they will get him on extortion
charges and he will end up serving thirteen years
iron bars he was given twenty right yeah was, it was more but will serve thirteen
Now I would say that I have a problem with somebody sending an
torsion letter and spending thirteen years behind bars
whereas the other man roger arnold spent fifteen years for killing somebody, but at the same time James louis is not
dude, so I dont have any qualms with him spending this much time behind bars and after he's, released in two thousand and four he'll be arrested for the
been kidnapping of a woman in Boston. Now these
Charges will later be dropped because the victim would not be willing to testify so rape, as we now
with such a horrific crime is also incredibly complicated for
victim and so in this particular case, the way I
stand. It is, and I got this from reading the Boston, Harold
because James Louis spent considerable time in Boston. He had threatened this woman and said you know if you rat me out. If you talk
bout me, I'm going to send nude pictures of you to your dad. I think this.
came down to she didn't want to talk about all this because then her dad would know what had happened to her. You know that socks, because we would like for justice to happen we'd like for the sky, to be
away, but this is a big ask of this woman who, by all accounts she suffered horribly at his hands. She was kidnapped and beaten and raped and drugs
Then brass king hurry, I now you have to go to court and relive this entire experience to have any choice,
of having this guy put away.
The whole reason they are around each other's because he was helping her with web design.
The third accusing her of stealing what they say is stealing website space and, of course she started to defend herself.
any sprayed her in the face with what they say was a chemical spray and then he of course attacked her beat her with all that. I can see why she would feel very threatened by this
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not done with James louis, because this case is still open. This case at this point is still unsolved, but in two thousand and nine they still have multiple bottles from this incident. They had eight bottles altogether. They had the five from the victims they had.
Two that were returned to a store, and then they found one that was still on the shelf now
they're using some sort of testing strip that they can just place in the bottle. In of cyanide is present. It turns blue, so their able to recover eight bottles here, but they think they have a dna profile touch dna on one of these bottles would
they assume is the killer, so two thousand and nine again they take james and his wife into custody, and they force them to give up a dna profile. James and his wife don't hear anything from law enforcement. The james is busy he's busy self publishing a book called poison.
What's this book about Erin a series of poisoning das in
Roy and Missouri unkind
with the actual town, all murders case it's. I guess somebody spikes, a water supply with mercury or something and kills people. By doing that, I mean why would you write a book about poisoning people when you ve been the prime suspect,
I I can't ve seen this and other cases where there's someone that just can't distance themselves from a case that they should try to because there are the focus of law enforcement and they just can't help themselves.
And you wonder if that's because he really was involved or if it's because he's an opportunist, he's just a
yeah, but there are a lot of coincidences here. There are so many coincidence
Is that a lot of people say it's not a coincidence, so the question would go back to. How can you pull this off if you're, not in town, because law enforcement? Despite you know they ve gone back? They tried to get him. They don't have this case where they could just bring him in where they can charge him and prosecute him for the talent, homer
Now this dna profiles, it said they have, we don't know if it is the killer, but if they pulled this dna profile off a bottle who knows if they pulled it off? One of the contaminated pills? I think at that point we know that
That is the profile of the murderer in the town, all murders and if it doesn't match James louis well, maybe that clears em.
there have been statements by different authorities.
In this case, some people involved
the investigation believe James Louis is the guy and some don't think he is, and it really comes down these different details in oh, if you read it
With boxes, we usually use that, as criteria are a lot of check boxes here. But you know, one thing that you have to take into account is: sometimes you have one box is unchecked,
That's pretty damn big, pretty damn important. So this case has yet to be solved because no one has been able to put this whole thing
either in a way that satisfies all these check boxes, to be
say James Louis, is the guy.
Now there is another alternative theory here that we gotta talk about rider,
right. It's one thing to say that some went around and with stolen tie
all bottles or purchase town, all bottles or even just went each store and deposited?
a town all medicine into these bottles in a
and say that, and it makes sense, but there is also the possibility that this was
inside job. Someone actually worked at the distribution centre or something that effect now
partly investigation. They determine that these bottles weren't all manufactured at the same facility.
but didn't they come to the same distribution centre? It's like they were created, indifferent factories, one
like an porter rico and somewhere else, but the final packaging, where they get put into a bottle and labelled, could have been possibly through the same way,
house. So there's this idea that the lacing, the poisoning of these pills, happened at this place.
well there's a whole conspiracy theory about why things happen, the way they did
meaning the media. This didn't keep happening like this.
Got sorted out where we're all safe, they put the protection and place the new bottles ever return to shelves. They had safety. Packaging tamper proof yes, so this is a way for the public
safe and talent all can return to being a juggernaut of,
the counter medication for johnson and johnson. They can make their money and
there's a whole theory about this, and it's in a book title tylenol, mafia marketing, murderer and jobs
Alan Johnson written. I scott parts now Scott make some good points I actually haven't read his book through and through, but the supply chain at johnson and johnson or tylenol factories was madness,
people just slam it because it seems like a bunch of efficiency. Experts got into a fight and they adopted one half of one guys idea, and then the other half of another in batch in large numbers meant nothing. So this guy seems to think that it could have been an inside job. In all these pills, all these tainted bottles could have come out of the same centre,
and, if you think about it, this is where conspiracies can make sense. If you have an end
Tea with a lot of money, they can well make things happen, then why couldn't have happened, but this pole event had a great impact on,
society in may of nineteen. Eighty three congress voted to use its full power, the federal government to those who tamper with food or drugs in cases like the town, homers, meaning they'll, make this a federal charge. If anyone tampered with food or drug, you could serve life in prison for tampering with medical,
chance or food and also a lot of companies along with the government, changed the way they package drugs and food
simultaneously as this is going on. You have. You know the scare, this hysteria
Remember when you can you go trick or treating, and somebody would oh, oh, you know they might put pins
needles in your candy list is tied.
This tylenol murder, it's a cultural hysteria that goes together
even a crime to even suggests that something has been tampered with. So anything that would cause harm or panic and the public
relating to medications or food, anything with a tamper proof or proper packaging
That's all highly illegal. Now and
The government would bring its four
against you if you challenge them now. What's yours
ideas or theories on this case.
there was James louis that committed these crimes or someone else is clear that this was some sort of lashing out whether was against just
public or someone in particular. A lot of people died because of
persons rage, including a twelve year old girl. I can imagine if europe
aren't or view someone who relies on medication and other people have to take town all or these days ibuprofen every day,
Could you imagine thinking? I can't
my medication right now, because I don't know if I would live. I don't know if this is going to kill me
no matter what the motivations where this was terror for the public. I get
the angle of james
trying to get back at a guy who's check. Bounced it may
a lot of sense. Its real simple thy like that on the
their hand. I can also see where maybe because
he didn't always most timely implant. Things out very well. I could see that. May
in some strange way. He thought he was going to get a million dollars. He creates a panic in the public and then he's got this really big company
They can easily afford to send him a million dollars. Maybe thought that was going to work. Those
The two theories I think, work best bad, it's difficult to say. I think he was far more.
Cunning and conniving than say lorry dan. Who is just chaos, so I dont believe that she would be capable of pulling this off, because she just wasn't that well put together and her emma would have changed from badly package juice boxes, with arsenic to neatly packaged capsule
with cyanide and then she use guns and firearms ye. I don't see how she would have gotten a hold of cyanide. No, so James is far more cunning, but did he do this? Would he be capable of doing this and pulling it off? I don't know it.
pulled off, though I mean to this day. They don't have anyone whose gone to prison for the tylenol murders. James Louis went to prison for thirteen years for trying to extort money out of jobs and a johnson, I just don't know if he has the ability to do.
It- and I dont know if I buy that this
somebody that work for johnson and Johnson as in an inside job, because it would have had been coordinated. I think.
So I truly think that it's just somebody that drove around to these drugstores, in spite bottles,
and I know there's some people are questionable. Why didn't anyone see I'm doing it? This was the early eighties. They didn't have security cameras, they didn't have all these security devices back then, and it only takes a second to open up a bottle drop. Some pills in and these bottles had anywhere from three to ten contaminated pills pop up in the top drawer
men closed the top takes seconds. You might not notice somebody doing that
We drive around all these stores and doing it and it wasn't like they had cameras everywhere and has, even if they did, the quality would have been so poor at the time.
The other thing I want to say, though, is that these murders
happened at the end of september early october.
His letter arrived on october. Sixth, pretty quick for me:
this isn't so much. I have proof he did it. They should go arrest him. We have solved the case. It's more of a wow seem to be multiple connections.
between James Louis and these talent all murders.
there's, no one else that even comes close at least of the suspects. So we have to the connections that he has so for me and you factor and how quickly that letter comes in. I just feel like he had to be connected now: weren't there, multiple people whose checks bounced
yeah everyone at the travel agency, and did they look into these people? They did, but it was obvious that this letter
had come from james, louis and even admitted to it, so a kind of cancels out any
the other employees at the travel agency right, I'm not trying to deflect anything away from him. I'm just saying was there a possibility that someone else could have dropped the bottles off? After all, if you're trying to commit a crime,
create an alibi, and it's not beyond james, to attempt to create an alibi for himself absolutely and that's where I think a coordinated effort would have had to have taken place but nobody's been talkin. You know
Try to make a big deal out of the fact that, while he was in prison, he was visited and there were some pressure applied to him,
and get him to talk about the tylenol murders and they said it didn't work or
really wasn't connected? So we had nothing to say that damn how come no ones
The idea that he is not going to tell you I mean he pulled this whole thing like with OJ were o J said. If I did it, he did that same thing. So, for me it's not oh well, they couldn't doomed to crack
while they were torturing em, they went talk to him. They try to get him to say something and he didn't tell em anything so.
The way I look at it is that doesn't prove that he wasn't connected not to me anyway. You just can't prove it in court. You know they don't have enough.
So where we ve talked about a lot of suspects here and we know
that the fbi thinks they have a dna profile. There is one aspect we haven't mentioned, who definitely
was from the chicago area had
means and the know how and his name was ted.
We'll be talking about him. Honor next episode.
In nineteen sixty nine, a vicious and seemingly random killings vary in los angeles shock, the nation and when the killer
we're finally caught the nation
even more shocked by who was behind the gruesome crimes? I will.
Grant the host of wonders podcast american history tellers. We take you to leave,
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Transcript generated on 2022-07-09.