FBI Reopens Infamous "Tylenol Murders" Case

If you’ve ever wondered why medicines have tamper-proof seals — there’s one reason: an group of still unsolved murders over a quarter of a century old. In September of 1982, cyanide-laced Tylenol killed seven people in the Chicagoland area. Despite a nationwide recall and investigation, no one was ever charged with the crime. Now the FBI has reopened the case.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“We owe it to the victims’ families to bring modern technology and current cold-case homicide investigation techniques to this case in the hopes of solving it once and for all,” FBI spokesman Tom Simon said.

If investigators are to solve the murders, they will have to reverse momentum on a case that cast its shadow over three decades and involved more than 100 investigators, more than 6,500 leads, 400 possible suspects, some 20,000 pages of reports, no crime scene and no motive. The task force had all but disbanded.

The new activity in the case surrounds a longtime suspect, James William Lewis, who was convicted of extortion after writing a letter to Tylenol’s manufacturer offering to stop killing people in exchange for $1 million. He later denied having anything to do with the killings and served 11 years in prison. After being released in 1995, Lewis started a number of computer-related companies, says the Tribune.

The Web site for one of the companies, CyberLewis, this week included a link to a page labeled “Tylenol.”

On that page was a bizarre five-paragraph statement in which Lewis referred to “the curse of being labeled the Tylenol Man.” “Somehow, after a quarter of a century, I surmise only a select few with critical minds will believe anything I have to say.”

FBI reopens Tylenol tampering case [Chicago Tribune]

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