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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Unabomber and the capsule

Authorities want DNA samples from Ted Kascynski because they hope to link him to the 1982 Tylenol cyanide poisonings. Kascynski has refused to cooperate, on the grounds that the FBI might not be completely honest.

So far I've seen zero evidence linking Kascynski to that crime. Does the fact that he committed a very different series of serious crimes justify a fishing expedition?

Suspicious minds might wonder if there is a plot to pin the crime on someone who can be vaguely associated with the left. It doesn't take much imagination to guess what Newt Gingrich or the Fox Newsers might do with this story.

I recall 1982. (He said to the young whippersnappers, resisting the temptation to add "by cracky.") News reports at that time said that authorities sought a man and a woman.

A married man named James Lewis tried to blackmail Johnson & Johnson. The Lewises lived in New York; the deaths took place in Chicago. The cops were never able to find evidence that they (or he) had made the journey at the time of the tamperings. Although he did time for extortion, Lewis has always denied being the tamperer. Last year, he submitted DNA and fingerprint evidence which appears to have cleared him. He also wrote a novel called "POISON!"

The other noted suspect was Roger Arnold, a dockhand with access to the Tylenol capsules at the point of distribution. He considered himself an amateur chemist, and had recently been in possession of cyanide; he also possessed a formidable number of weapons, as well as The Anarchist's Cookbook and other examples of Tyler Durden-esque literature. Cops found that he possessed a one-way ticket to Thailand. Arnold claimed that he made the trip annually, even though he never had visited the country.

Arnold was looking like a pretty good suspect. But the police never charged him. In 1984, he was convicted of a murder not directly related linked to the Tylenol case.

An unstable woman named Laurie Dann later joined the suspect list. In 1988, she used arsenic to poison breakfast cereal and fruit juices. She then turned to guns as she went on a killing spree in a grade school and in a suburban home.

This website
by Scott Bartz -- a man of strong and intriguing opinions -- takes an in-depth look at the Tylenol murders. He questions the use of DNA evidence in this case, on the grounds that the evidence was routinely handled (and potentially contaminated) by bare-handed investigators. DNA testing was not around in 1982.

I haven't yet read the whole of that site. But the author dismisses the official theory that the killer purchased Tylenol then restocked the tainted bottles on the shelves.
There was no madman stalking Chicago area food and drug stores in the fall of 1982. The Tylenol killers did not sabotage bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol capsules after they had been delivered to Chicago-area stores. The killer filled hundreds or probably thousands of capsules with cyanide before the capsules were packaged and shipped to local retailers. The Tylenol capsules responsible for the deaths of at least seven Chicago-area residents in 1982 were poisoned during distribution while under the control of Johnson & Johnson or one of its distributors. Any suggestion that officials at the highest level of Johnson & Johnson and the FDA do not know this to be true is preposterous.
The author even brings up the possibility that Johnson & Johnson, through a remarkable PR campaign, managed to deflect investigators away from considering the possibility that the company was itself (accidentally) responsible:
The possibility of factory error was raised Saturday when Stein revealed McNeil Consumer Products Co. regularly uses cyanide in quality control tests at the plant where it manufactures Extra-Strength Tylenol. A spokesman for the company confirmed Saturday that cyanide is used in "routine testing" of raw materials by McNeil.
The site also has a fascinating page on organized crime's control of food and drug distribution in the Chicago area. However, I see no motive for Da Mob to commit random poisonings.

Me? I take cheap, generic Ibuprofin. Acetaminophen doesn't do much for me.
Nice one....thanks for the theory and the back factors...

I would like to send you an advance copy of The Tylenol Mafia so you can be among the first to learn how the Tylenol killer committed this crime and how and why he got away with it. You can contact me at with an address for where I can mail the book. I have included below a summary of the book and links to the book’s website and bibliography of more than 700 sources.

Book Summary:
On September 29, 1982, seven people in Chicago died after taking Extra Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide. Officials have long cited the scarcity of physical evidence and apparent lack of motive to explain why they never solved the Tylenol murders. However, new revelations and information not previously disclosed tell a very different story of a crime that should have been solved.

In a story both fascinating and dramatic in its warnings, The Tylenol Mafia rips away the facade of an investigation that J&J CEO James Burke labeled “A demonstration without parallel of government and business working with the news media to help protect the public.” This gripping, meticulously documented expose’ unearths the troubling details of an investigation corrupted by well-connected corporate executives and politically motivated government officials who simply buried the truth inside a shadow legal system inaccessible to everyday Americans.

Page Count: 630 (116 pages are endnotes)
Publishing date: September 26, 2011
Publisher: Self-published through CreateSpace
Distribution:, Kindle, CreateSpace, and CreateSpace expanded distribution
Book website:
Link to bibliography:
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