THE TYLENOL MURDERS AND UNABOMBER TED KACZYNSKI
WHO WAS THE TYLENOL KILLER OF 1982 AND 1986?
By AK Wilks
On the morning of September 29, 1982, Mary Kellerman was suffering from a sore throat. The 12 year old took some Tylenol her mother had just purchased the other day. Within minutes she was dead, a victim of Cyanide poisoning. Over the next few days, six others would die in the Chicago area - three members of the Janus family, Adam, Stanley and Theresa; Mary McFarland, Paula Prince; and Mary Reiner. Seven murders, killed by a stranger they never knew. A near perfect crime, as there was no known motive, no crime scene, little evidence and no good suspects. A national crisis ensued, Johnson & Johnson issued a nationwide recall of Tylenol at a cost of $100 million, and hundreds of police detectives and FBI agents worked the case. But no one was ever arrested for these crimes, and 27 years later the case is still unsolved.
The Tylenol Murders of 1982 are the most horrific and baffling unsolved crimes in Chicago history, and one of the most puzzling unsolved murder cases in American history. Seven people died in the Chicago area, with three other seldom discussed but possibly related incidents that same year, Cyanide Tylenol deaths in Wyoming and Philadelphia, and a Strychnine Tylenol poisoning injury in California.
Lately the 27 year old unsolved cold case has been in the news again because of James Lewis. James Lewis was convicted of extortion for sending a letter to Johnson & Johnson stating the killings would stop if $1,000,000 was wired to a bank account. But the bank account was not his; it was the closed account of his wife's former employer. Lewis was angry at this employer for giving his wife a final paycheck that bounced, and he also accused the employer of being engaged in a massive fraud. Lewis states the Tylenol letter was designed to draw attention to the employer and get him in trouble. Instead, Lewis was charged with a federal felony. Lewis was convicted of extortion and served 13 years of a 20 year sentence.
Back in 1982, local and federal law enforcement authorities repeatedly made it clear that Mr. Lewis was not involved in putting the poisoned Tylenol on store shelves. James Murray, spokesman for Johnson & Johnson, stated that tests showed Cyanide eats through the plastic capsule shells within 14 days, and it had been 25 days since Mr. Lewis had been in the Chicago area. Hotel records and witnesses show Mr. Lewis and his wife at a hotel in New York during the relevant time period. A search of airline, bus, car rental and hotel records showed no evidence of Mr. Lewis returning to Chicago. And no fingerprint or other forensic evidence was found to link Mr. Lewis to the actual poisonings.
Another element that has not been mentioned in recent news coverage are the Cyanide - Tylenol Murders that occurred in 1986. At least four people died of Cyanide filled Tylenol or Anacin 3 capsules in the time period between February and May of 1986, another died of a Cyanide filled food product and one other person was sickened by tainted Tylenol. The 1986 Tylenol Killer apparently defeated the new tamper resistant packaging, causing Tylenol to switch to tamper proof hard caplets. It seems at least possible if not likely that the Tylenol Killer of 1986 and 1982 are one and the same. But this would rule out Mr. Lewis, who was incarcerated in a federal prison in 1986 serving his sentence for extortion.
So the question now remains: Who was the Tylenol Killer?
A NEW SUSPECT
Information has developed concerning a possible new suspect in the Tylenol Murders. There are media reports about possible evidence connected to the Tylenol case, including partial fingerprints from the tampered bottles and new forensic evidence. If a match can be made between the suspected evidence left behind from the Tylenol Killer and this man, perhaps this case can finally be solved. This man, like the Tylenol Killer, killed by remote control, killed from a distance. He left items in public places where whoever picked them up would be maimed or killed.
This suspect was later convicted of multiple murders, had a genius level IQ, sufficient knowledge of science, engineering and chemicals to create the Cyanide filled tablets and defeat the tamper resistant packaging and when arrested had Strychnine poison in his home. In addition, he had an intense hatred for the modern consumer system, despised large corporations and also expressed the desire to kill large numbers of random people to get his personal "revenge" on society. This suspect also did do a little gold and silver prospecting, and Cyanide is used for that purpose. This same suspect also had a family home that he sometimes stayed at in Lombard, Illinois that was within 20 minutes of all the known Chicago area tampering sites, at the exact epicenter in fact, and there is some evidence he was in the area at the time. The suspect is Theodore Kaczynski, the man later known as the "Unabomber", who killed at least three persons and wounded over two dozen in his anti-technology and anti-corporate crusade.
Theodore Kaczynski grew up in suburban Illinois, in Evergreen Park, before his family moved to Lombard. It is stated he had a childhood IQ of 167; 140 and above is considered genius level, the top 0.5% of the US population. An IQ in the 167 area is beyond genius level - Albert Einstein is thought to have had an IQ in this range. Kaczynski grew up as a loner and shunned contact with children his age. Rather than participating in sports or dating, he was known to be a voracious reader in many subjects and to conduct science and chemistry experiments in his home. He started attending Harvard University at age 16.
He later obtained a PHD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. While there he solved a complex math problem that had baffled his professors. As a student, he had work published in top mathematics journals, including his thesis on the boundary functions of circles. One fellow graduate student stated he thought Kaczynski would likely go on to win a Nobel Prize in math. But after two years teaching as a tenure track professor at the University of California Berkeley from 1967 to 1969, Kaczynski left the school and left the field of mathematics. He had made few if any friends and had almost no contact with women. He wrote in his journal that he suffered from "acute sexual starvation."
He spent most of the next two years traveling and looking for land, eventually buying property in Lincoln, Montana in 1971. For the first few years he would often spend winters and other short periods elsewhere, including living and working in the Chicago area in 1978 and 1979, but this cabin would be his primary residence for the next 25 years. From 1978 until his arrest in 1996, he killed at least three persons and injured at least 23 more in his actions as "The Unabomber". He became America's most wanted domestic terrorist. The FBI had a $1,000,000 bounty on his head, hundreds of agents on the case, and a 25,000 name suspect list that did NOT have Theodore Kaczynski on it. David Kaczynski, Ted's brother, contacted the FBI after he and his wife were disturbed by similarities between the Unabomber Manifesto and Ted's own anti-technology writings.
The primary weapon Kaczynski used in his crusade against the twentieth century was the home made bomb, either mailed to victims or placed at locations, to be detonated by the random person who picked it up. But there is no reason to think Kaczynski was limited only to bombs as a weapon. Kaczynski also committed burglaries, arson and industrial sabotage. He is also suspected of shooting a miner with a high powered rifle and using Strychnine poison to kill a neighbor's dogs. He built a gun out of spare parts and wood and wrote he intended to use it as a "homicide weapon". He wrote of a desire to kill regular people and "bigshots" by use of a "bomb or other means". In his journal that gave details of all of his Unabomber bombing crimes, he wrote that accounts of and evidence from other crimes had been either buried or burned because their revelation would be "dangerous", "embarassing" or "very bad public relations". So it seems fairly clear, by his own words, that he DID
committ other crimes than just the Unabomber bombings. What were they?
As mentioned above, this suspect had a family home within 20 minutes of all the known Chicago area tampering sites. In fact, if you were to draw a horizontal line from the tampering site at 1601 N. Wells St. in Chicago to the tampering site on N040 Winfield Road in Winfield, it would run right through the city of Lombard and the exact area where the suspect's family home on N. Ridge was in 1982. If you draw a vertical line through the tampering sites on N. Vail in Arlington Heights and the Grove Mall in Elk Grove Village and continue that line it again would literally go right through where the suspect's family home was in Lombard.
As strange as it may seem, it is an undisputable fact the Kaczynski family home on N. Ridge St. in Lombard is at the exact epicenter of the Tylenol tampering sites. While not conclusive proof of anything, it is consistent with a theory that if Kaczynski was the Tylenol Killer he was intentionally or unintentionally giving a clue as to his location. This is in fact something that Kaczynski, intentionally or unintentionally, did in some of his Unabomber crimes.
Acting as the Unabomber, Kaczynski committed bombings in Auburn, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you were to draw a horizontal line from Auburn extending east, it would go through Lincoln, Montana where the Kaczynski cabin was located. And if you were to draw a vertical line from Salt Lake City extending north, it would again go through Lincoln, Montana. Thus there is evidence to support a theory that Kaczynski, acting as both the Unabomber and the Tylenol Killer, selected targets that were geographically aligned with his home location. We can only guess at the psychology of WHY he would give clues like this - whether it was to mock the FBI, engage in an intellectual game by giving clues, make it more exciting by increasing the sense of personal risk involved and/or out of a conscious or even a subconscious desire to get caught.
There may be a more practical explanation as well. While he owned and used cars throughout the seventies, it is thought that Kaczynski did not own a car in 1982. Though he sometimes borrowed family cars (including his brother David's Datsun) or rented a car, he usually took the bus to commit his bombings and mailing of bombs. Salt Lake City, Utah is a direct stop on the major highway bus route south from Lincoln, Montana. And the Chicago area tampering sites are all on a circuit of major roads that are bus routes. Looking at a map with the Chicago area sites marked, it is consistent with a person staying in Lombard using a bus (or car) to make a quick and direct journey to all the tampering sites.
It is well known that Kaczynski had a hatred for the modern technological system and all large corporations. Just based on this fact, along with the geographic data mentioned above, Kaczynski should certainly at least be considered a suspect in the Tylenol Murders. The Tylenol Murders, while a personal tragedy for the victims, were also the most economically devasting criminal attack on corporations in modern American history. And the number one anti-corporate terrorist in American history had a residence within 20 minutes of all the sites, at the exact epicenter in fact. But in his famous Unabomber Manifesto, he also expressed a specific dislike for the manufacturers of drugs and pills. He felt that they played an essential role in sustaining the system he hated, as they numbed the pain of modern society to allow people to continue to function. Among other specific criticisms, he states:
Unabomber Manifesto Section 145. "Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness."
In his Unabomber Manifesto, Section 190, he states that any kind of social conflict "helps to destabilize the system", and in Section 143 he states the best way to attack the system is not an armed uprising but striking at and through "technology and ECONOMICS
(emphasis added), not politics." The Tylenol Murders, which resulted in Johnson & Johnson pulling all Tylenol products off the shelf, caused over $100 million in direct losses to one of the largest corporations in America, and a loss in stock value of over $1 billion. It was, in effect, an act of economic terrorism against the modern technological consumer system. It also terrorized the public and caused a lack of faith in modern manufacturing and packaging methods of consumer products. The Tylenol Murders had exactly the kinds of serious economic and social effects that Kaczynski sought and wrote about.
It should also be pointed out that while Kaczynski did have very strong views about drugs, corporations and technology and these were part of his motive for committing the bombing murders he pled guilty to, in his secret coded journal he makes it clear that killing people gives him some kind of personal release from his anger (including a "sexual release"), that he desires revenge against all of society and that virtually every person living in society is his enemy. Kaczynski wrote in the Fall of 1977:
"The technological society may be in some sense inevitable, but it is so only because of the way people behave. Consequently I hate people...Almost anyone who holds steady employment is contributing his part in maintaining the technological society...I emphasize that my motivation is personal revenge. I don't pretend to any kind of philosophical or moralistic justification."
Indeed, on November 15, 1979, Kaczynski put a bomb on United Airlines Flight 444 from Chicago to Washington, DC. Had the bomb exploded properly, all on board would have died; as it only partially exploded into a minor fireball, the plane was able to make an emergency landing with passengers treated for smoke inhalation. And in October of 1981 Kaczynski placed a firebomb on the campus of the University of Utah. So while Kaczynski in most of his later crimes targeted specific individuals who worked or taught in fields like business or technology, in this time period of the late seventies and early eighties he was involved in actions that would have and could have caused mass death to random citizens of all ages and all walks of life, just like the Tylenol Murders did. And the Unabomber, like the Tylenol Killer, usually wasn't present to watch his victims die. Kaczynski recorded in his journal his joy of reading the gory details of his bombings in the newspaper.
Though Kaczynski could have come and left the Chicago area without notice or detection by staying in a motel, there is some evidence he was in the area in the fall of 1982. While Kaczynski had a cabin in Montana that he was still developing, he lived and worked in the Chicago area in parts of 1978 and 1979. He did do bombings while he was there, including placing the bomb on the jet. His brother David also told the FBI he had a vague memory of Ted visiting in 1980 and perhaps at one or two later dates. And a neighbor named Roy Froberg told the Washington Post in an article printed on April 5, 1996 that Ted had last visited his family in Lombard "about 15 years ago", which would have been in or around 1981 or 1982.
Kaczynski made it clear in 1982 that he no longer wished to see his family - in fact he sent a note to his parents saying "I hope you both drop dead before Christmas." This note makes one wonder if his parents may have been a target of the poisonings, but were spared their lives when they threw out their Tylenol bottles along with the rest of the country. But it certainly does indicate that if he was in Chicago in 1982, as the neighbor seems to roughly recall and his brother indicates was possible, it was not for the purpose of a friendly family visit and was likely to be only for the purpose of criminal activities. But there were no Chicago area bombings in 1982. So what would Kaczynski been doing in the Chicago area in 1982?
THE CRIMINAL SIGNATURE OF THEODORE KACZYNSKI
Former FBI Special Agent and Serial Killer Profiler John Douglas on "Signature":
"The MO is basically the way the predator commits the crime -- if he uses a gun rather than a knife or lures prospective victims by putting his arm in a fake sling. While the MO tells us something about how he did it, the signature gives us some insight into why. The signature is a ritual, something the subject does intentionally for emotional satisfaction -- something that isn't necessary to perpetuate the crime. Evidence of torture is a signature. Posing -- displaying the victims in a certain way -- is a signature. Signature is a way of linking cases. Like a real signature, it's a personal detail that's unique to the individual.
Sometimes there's a fine line between an MO and a signature. I've found that signature is a more reliable guide to the behavior of serial offenders than an MO. That's because the MO evolves, while the emotional reasoning that triggers the signature doesn't.
The method a killer uses to get women into his van may change, but the fact that he always tortures them once they're inside stays the same. One subject covered the faces of his victims. That was his signature. So you look for that in other cases in order to tie them together. A bomber used to spray black paint over the components inside his bombs. It wasn't necessary -- it didn't make the bombs any better. I don't know what it meant, but he did it anyway. He felt the need to do it."
From the book Unabomber: A Desire To Kill
, by Robert Graysmith:
"In the Unabomber's case a large factor was his obsession with wood.
Wood. Wood was everywhere. It haunted his mind, controlled his actions, wood was his goal and mode of attack. He selected as his enemies people who had wood - associated names, addresses, or businesses
Acting as the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski used a criminal signature utilizing NATURE
themes such as water, ice, animals, hills, mountains and in particular TREES
. The NATURE, TREES and WOOD
theme became a major focal point of the FBI investigation, as it was one of the few obvious clues Kaczynski left in his trail of bombings. Kaczynski of course lived not far from a stream in a wood cabin among the tree covered hills and mountains of Montana. The consistent references to Water, Trees, Wood and Mountains could have been a way to signal his belief in the primacy of nature over industrial technology, a taunting clue to his Montana location and/or a calling card link to claim credit for his crimes.
Kaczynski later targeted certain groups of people - business executives, professors in technological subjects, computer workers. But within these broad groups, he would often select a specific person whose name, street or city had a tie to a Nature, Wood or Trees theme, or he would make the references in fake return addresses. It would take several pages to list in detail all of the examples of the Kaczynski Nature, Trees and Wood mania, so I will just mention the highlights.
Kaczynski as the Unabomber mailed bombs to targets in Salt LAKE
City, LAKE FOREST
Illinois and Ann ARBOR
Michigan. He included a copy of the novel "The ICE
Brothers" in a bomb package, the story of which concerns a boat on OCEAN
patrol near GREEN
land. He targeted for death persons named Patrick FISCHER
, James HILL
, Percy WOOD
and Leroy WOOD
Bearson. All of his bombs had parts made of WOOD
and/or were concealed in WOOD
boxes. He even enclosed items within his bomb packages such as parts, sprigs, sticks or twigs from TREES
of Maple WOOD, Red WOOD, Cherry WOOD and Douglas Fir WOOD
. He selected victims that lived on streets like FOREST HILL
(a type of poplar TREE
and a town in Colorado associated with MOUNTAINS
). He used return addresses of OAK
land California, RAVENSWOOD
Street and BERG or BURG
three times which is German for MOUNTAIN/CASTLE
. There are many other examples with NATURE, WOOD or TREE
themes, but one more will make the point rather clearly - a fake return address of Frederick Benjamin Isaac WOOD
, 549 WOOD
In this respect, keep in mind that a "grove" is a group of trees, a "field" can be of grass, plants or trees, "heights" are the high points of hills and mountains, "burg" is phoenetic German for mountain, "Vail" is another town in Colorado associated with mountains, "Wells" bring forth water and "green" is a term for plants and the color associated with the environmental movement. In the Tylenol Murders, out of the thousands of retail outlets to pick from, the killer chose the Osco store in the WOODFIELD Mall in SchaumBURG, the Jewel store at the GROVE Mall in ELK GROVE Village, a store on WinFIELD Road in WinFIELD, a Jewel store in Arlington HEIGHTS on VAIL Street, a WalGREEN on WELLS Street in Chicago and the last discovered store on ButterFIELD Road in WHEATon.
Of course many streets and cities have nature based names. So we might expect to find one or even two such names by pure coincidence. But for EVERY confirmed Tylenol location to have multiple Nature, Mountain, Water, Tree and Wood themes is beyond coincidence, and speaks clearly of intent and design. It seems that the Tylenol Killer had the same identical criminal signature as Ted Kaczynski - an obsession with selecting targets with Nature, Mountain, Water, Tree and Wood themes.
At least one other location was either not discovered or not disclosed publicly, that being where victim Mary McFarland purchased her Tylenol, but we known that she lived in ELM
hurst. People usually shop near where they live (or work), and if the tainted Tylenol was placed in and purchased in ELM
hurst, that would be yet another NATURE-TREES-WOOD choice made by the Tylenol Killer.
The Jewel-Osco chain seems to have been a particular target of the murderer, showing up several times. And there are two Jewel stores in Elmhurst, one of which is at 153 E. Schiller St., on an exact horizontal line with the tampering site at 1601 N. Wells St. in Chicago to the East and the Kaczynski residence on N. Ridge in Lombard to the West. Ms. McFarland also worked for Bell Telephone at the Yorktown Center in Lombard, the same city as the Kaczynski family home. There is a Jewel store on 1177 S. Main St. in Lombard, within walking distance (just over a mile) from the Kaczynski family home on N. Ridge in Lombard.
So there is a very clear pattern of placing the tampered Tylenol at sites with Nature themes, in particular Water, Mountains, Wood and Trees, just as we know Kaczynski selected bombing targets with similar names. The MO of these crimes are partially different - bombs vs. poison. But the criminal signature of Water - Trees - Wood - Mountains is the same. And the MO of both was to cause random death while the killer was away from the scene, and both targeted corporations and the modern technological society.
We can also ask why was Tylenol, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, chosen? There are of course many makers of pain killers and headache relief pills. Keeping in mind that the FBI believed Kaczynski selected bombing victims in part because of their names, such as Percy WOOD
and Leroy WOOD
Bearson, two of the founders of the Johnson & Johnson company were Robert WOOD
Johnson and James WOOD
Johnson. Just as in the targeted locations mentioned above, when it comes to the corporate victims, the Tylenol Killer operated with the exact same criminal signature Theodore Kaczynski used as the Unabomber. While of course anything is possible, it seems highly unlikely that there were TWO very intelligent, technically skilled, anti-corporate, revenge driven killers from a distance who selected locations and victims with Water, Tree, Wood and Mountain themes operating in the Chicago-Lombard area in 1982 and with probable ties to Wyoming or Montana.
THE CYANIDE TYLENOL DEATH NEAR THE WYOMING/MONTANA BORDER
Why the probable ties to Wyoming or Montana? Because of the death of Jay Mitchell, age 19, of Sheridan, Wyoming, on July 26, 1982. The coroner reported he had the exact same level of Cyanide in his body as the Chicago area victims. Though he had no Tylenol in his body, it is known that the killer emptied all of the Tylenol product out of the poisoned capsules before he put in the cyanide. The victim's family states he did take Tylenol just before his death, and that it was probably purchased at the local Jewel-Osco outlet in Sheridan, which is located on I-90, right by the Wyoming - Montana border.
What is also interesting is that the highway bus route from the Kaczynski cabin in Lincoln, Montana to the Chicago area, I-90, happens to run right through Sheridan, Wyoming. In his journal Kaczynski mentioned not wanting to commit any major crimes in Montana because people might remember him riding the bus the day that a murder in the state happened. Kaczynski would note the results of his actual bombings to learn how to do it better. If he wanted to do a "test run" to see if the Cyanide filled Tylenol capsules actually worked, but wanted a victim outside the state of Montana, Sheridan Wyoming is the first town across the border on the way to Chicago on I-90. There was also a strange incident at a Howard Johnsons motel parking lot in suburban Chicago, right off the same I-90 freeway that links Montana to Wyoming to Chicago. On September 28, 1982, numerous boxes and bottles of Tylenol were found by two police officers, along with a pile of white powder. The officers got sick with moderately serious symptoms of Cyanide poisoning by skin contact. This may have been the spot where the Tylenol Killer filled many of the capsules with Cyanide, and it happened right off the I-90.
If the death of Jay Mitchell was the work of the Tylenol Killer, as seems highly likely, than the Tylenol Killer is likely to be an intelligent, angry anti-corporate technically skilled loner with ties to both the Chicago area and the Wyoming - Montana area. Kaczynski would clearly fit this profile.
THE OTHER 1982 TYLENOL CYANIDE AND STRYCHNINE TAMPERING INJURIES AND DEATHS
We also have the possibly connected cases of the death of William Pascual of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Cyanide in Tylenol on April 3rd, 1982, and the sickening of Greg Blagg of Oroville, California by Strychnine in Tylenol on September 30th 1982. The two cities of Oroville and Philadelphia, on opposite ends of the country, line up horizontally on a map. They also roughly line up with the South Metro Chicago area on a cross country highway bus route.
Authorities first considered the Philadelphia case as a possible suicide based on a questionable line in a letter to his mother, but Mr. Pascual's wife insisted he was not suicidal, not even depressed, and that he had simply said he was going to take a Tylenol because he was not feeling well. When she went to check on him, he was dead on the floor. It was also never explained why, how or when Mr. Pascual put the Cyanide inside a Tylenol capsule before taking it, or why he left other such tainted capsules in the bottle.
The Oroville case in Northern California was considered by some a possible copycat or hoax. But Mr. Blagg stated the Tylenol was purchased before the Chicago deaths, and he did not appear to profit by being hospitalized for Strychnine poisoning. It was said he purchased the tainted bottle at an unspecified Long's Drug Store in Oroville, and tainted bottles were found on the shelf at at least one Long's in the area. Currently the only Long's store in Oroville is on Oroville DAM
Road. (a natural "Dam" being made of TREE
parts to stop WATER
; also, like WELLS
, a "Dam" is a structure associated with WATER
The authorities also never explained why the Chicago area murders are on the same interstate highway route with Oroville and Philadelphia, consistent with one man travelling by bus or car to do all the crimes in all three cities. Also never explained was how and why a man in Sheridan, Wyoming was murdered on July 26, 1982 by the exact same amount of Cyanide placed in a Tylenol as the Chicago area victims. Based on the known facts, it seems likely most or all of these crimes were committed by the same person.
We also know that Kaczynski was in Northern California that Summer, and possibly that Fall. He placed a bomb that caused injury to a professor on the campus of the University of California Berkeley on July 2nd 1982. There was also a woman named Jennifer Holloman in Modesto, California who was killed by a bomb placed on WOOD
land Street on September 19th 1982, an unsolved crime that has not been linked to Kaczynski but has some of his trademarks. The bomb placed in Berkeley in July was confirmed as Kaczynski.
Also, in April 1982 Kaczynski mailed from Provo, Utah a bomb to Professor Patrick Fischer at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. Fischer had moved to Vanderbilt University in TN so the package was rerouted there.
What is interesting is that there is evidence Kaczynski was in Chicago, near the sparsely populated Montana/Wyoming border and in Northern California - three locations of proven or suspected Tylenol tampering - in the Spring through Fall of 1982. How many other persons would fit that description? How many other known skilled and ruthless anti-corporate killers would fit that description? What is also interesting is that Kaczynski as the Unabomber had targeted the Chicago
area from 1978 to 1980; in 1982 Kaczynski as the Unabomber targeted Northern California and Pennsylvania
, and in 1982 the Tylenol Killer also seems to have targeted Chicago, Northern California and Pennsylvania
OTHER POSSIBLE EVIDENCE
There was a very grainy photo printed in Chicago and New York newspapers of a bearded man who was apparently watching flight attendant Paula Prince purchase tainted Tylenol in 1982. This bearded man may have no connection to the case, or he may have been the Tylenol Killer watching to see the person who purchased his poisoned capsules. The man was wanted for questioning as suspect in the Tylenol Murders. FBI serial killer profiler John Douglas, who worked on the case, states in his book The Anatomy of Motive
the FBI did suspect that the man in the picture was the UNSUB (Unknown Subject) likely responsible for the Tylenol Murders.
The man in the photo was first compared to the bearded James Lewis, and they do share some characteristics, but they did not appear to be the same person. The bearded man in the photo does have some very strong and interesting similarities with the bearded Theodore Kaczynski. (Unfortunately, Lewis and Kaczynski do look somewhat like each other).
We must remember that Kaczynski used disguises when he purchased bomb parts. In one instance he records in his journal he wore several shirts to make himself look heavier, stuffed the shirt for the same reason, put cotton balls in his cheeks, wax in his nostrils to make them larger, gum under his lips and cut and dyed his hair and beard. The man looks very much like a moderately disguised Kaczynski, if Kaczynski also cut his hair back to give the appearance of a more receding hairline. Perhaps a better version of the photo can be obtained, or other photos examined to see if Kaczynski is in any of them.
A photo of the man and photographs of Kaczynski are attached. The only major difference is the man in the photo has a more receding hairline, which Kaczynski could easily have implemented as a disguise action, in effect making himself look older. There are many strong similarities between the two: Bearded white men of the same approximate age, height, weight, same basic facial structure, eyes, nose, flat hair on the sides, bigger hair on top, beard, even the gray spot at the bottom of the beard matches. See the photo at the bottom of this article.
THE 1986 CYANIDE AND TYLENOL DEATHS
In the three years after the 1982 Tylenol Murders, there were numerous tampering incidents and injuries. All of these were thought to be copycats, hoaxes or isolated acts. None were thought to be the work of the Tylenol Killer.
There was an incident in May of 1984 that proved to be lethal. In Manitowoc, Wisconsin a tax auditor named Thomas Dresser died after drinking a Coca - Cola bottle that had Cyanide in it. At first considered a murder, suicide was later mentioned as a possibility, though the known facts are not in accord with a suicide and the case was never fully solved. An item found in Kaczynski's cabin indicates that he might have been in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
It is a box containing Potassium based chemicals, chemicals which can be a precursor to making Potassium Cyanide. The label on the box indicates it came from a lab in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Since it is highly doubtful Kaczynski ordered it through a traceable means like mail delivery, he probably bought, stole, garbage picked or otherwise obtained it directly from the premises of that lab. The FBI inventory lists the item as "MB 171 two small white cardboard boxes labeled "Potassium chromate K. CrO, for lab use only. Hagenow Labs, Inc., Manitowoc, Wis.," in a white plastic shopping bag." This item is poisonous.
Kaczynski also had chemicals with labels indicating they came from labs in Long Island, New York and San Antonio, Texas - each place within a one hour drive of a 1986 Cyanide death. The chemical with the San Antonio label was also a Potassium based chemical.
There were many other tampering scares, copycats and hoaxes, but no more lethal ones and none were grouped together in time, travel path or region. That changed in 1986.
In 1986 from February to September, five people died of Cyanide poisoning and one other man was sickened. Of the six incidents, four involved Tylenol, one involved Anacin 3 and one involved Lipton Cup A Soup. Yet the FDA generally tended to downplay reports the incidents were linked, and local authorities eventually gave questionable cause of death rulings in many of the cases. Hotel records show that Kaczynski was on the move and headed out of state when these incidents happened. He almost never left the state unless it was to commit a crime, and yet there were no bombings during the entire year of 1986.
In chronological order, the incidents were as followed:
* On February 4 1986 in Tyler, Texas - Bill Case, a 41 year old medical lab technician
, took Tylenol, went into convulsions and was hospitalized. The Tylenol was tainted with an unknown substance, the incident was basically forgotten and no more information is publicly available.
* On February 8 1986 in Bronxville (Yonkers), New York - Diane Elsroth, 23, a legal secretary and daughter of a NY State Policeman, dies of Cyanide in Tylenol. Death is ruled to be a clear homicide, but is never solved. Nationwide press coverage sparks fears of a new series of Tylenol Murders. The killer was apparently able to defeat the new three layers of tamper resistant packaging. Poisoned bottles were purchased at the A & P grocery store on CEDAR
Street in Bronxville, and another poisoned bottle was found at the nearby Woolworth store on PONDFIELD
Road in Bronxville. A CEDAR
is a type of TREE
and a commonly used WOOD
, a POND
is a small body of WATER
and a FIELD
can be of GRASS, PLANTS or TREES
. Just like Kaczynski throughout his career as the Unabomber, and just like the Tylenol Killer of 1982, in 1986 locations are selected that reference themes of Nature, here in particular Wood, Trees, Water and Fields. In fact, three of the 1982 Chicago area sites had the word "Field" in their street or city names, and others refer to Trees, Wood or Water.
* On February 23-25 1986 in Nashville, Tennessee - Timothy Green, 32, dies of Cyanide in Tylenol. An intact Tylenol capsule filled with Cyanide is found in a bottle under the bed. Homicide is strongly suspected. There is no suicide note, history of suicidal statements or depression. But the case is eventually ruled a probable suicide, partially calming fears of another nationwide Cyanide Tylenol murder spree. Mr. Green was an evangelist and part time jewelry salesman. It is stated he had purchased Cyanide shortly before his death, and this is the sole evidence of suicide offered. But Cyanide is commonly used to clean jewelry and silver, which is what Mr. Green stated to the salesman was his intended use of the purchase.
* On April 29 1986 in Pullman, Washington - Sandie Gregory, 21, a technician in the animal lab at Washington State University
, dies of Cyanide in Tylenol. There is no suicide note or history of suicidal statements. Murder is suspected. Yet eventually local police say she was "depressed" and probably killed herself, stating she had access to Cyanide at the lab were she worked. It is also stated that empty capsule shells with traces of Cyanide are found in her apartment. This could be consistent with suicide, though no reason is given why she would go through the trouble of putting the Cyanide in Tylenol before taking it. The empty shells could also be consistent with the lab tech investigating other capsules after becoming ill, or a killer creating and placing the tainted capsules in her apartment and targeting her specifically for death.
* On May 22 1986 (the day Kaczynski turned 44) in Austin, Texas - Kenneth Faries, 24, a University of Texas chemistry student and lab worker
, dies of Cyanide in an Anacin 3 capsule. A Cyanide filled capsule is found still in the bottle. The capsules were purchased at a WalGREENS
, a store that was also targeted in the 1982 Tylenol Murders, though the exact location is not publicly disclosed. (The only Walgreens in Austin now is on East RIVER
side Street). The first ruling by the ME is that Mr. Faries was murdered. On June 1, 1986 the Travis County Medical Examiner Dr. Bayardo stated "There is nothing, nothing at all that indicates to me that this is a suicide." Investigation revealed that the Cyanide did not match any that Mr. Faries could have had access to on campus, and there was no suicide note, history of depression or suicidal statements. But on June 18, 1986, it was stated that the Cyanide was similar to some found somewhere on campus, and Dr. Bayardo declared the case a probable suicide. No reason is given as to how or why Mr. Faries placed Cyanide in an Anacin 3 capsule he then left in the bottle. For the third time in a row in 1986, what is at first thought to be an apparent Cyanide tampering murder is questionably declared a suicide, and a natiowide scare is largely averted.
* On June 6 1986 in Auburn, Washington - Bruce Nickell, 52, State of Washington employee and heavy equipment operator, dies after taking a Cyanide laced Excedrin capsule.
* On June 11 1986 in Auburn, Washington - Sue Snow Webking, 40, bank executive, dies after taking a Cyanide laced Excedrin capsule. Stella Nickell, the wife of Bruce, is convicted of the tampering deaths of her husband and Ms. Snow Webking. The motive is said to be insurance money, with the death of the woman designed to make it look like part of a random attack. The evidence used to convict Mrs. Nickell, while all circumstantial, seems fairly strong, and these two probable copycat murders are NOT
considered part of the series this article examines. But Mrs. Nickell, currently serving a long prison sentence, still maintains her innocence, several key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony and some of the evidence used against her has since been challenged.
* On September 1 1986 in Runnemede, New Jersey - Louis Denber, a 27 year old electronics technician for the RCA corporation
, sits down with his wife and mother to eat. His wife pours hot water into his Lipton Cup A Soup bowl. He takes a swallow, and states "This doesn't taste right. This really doesn't taste right." He gets up from the table, throws out the soup and says "I don't feel well". He falls on the floor and goes in to convulsions. He is declared dead of Cyanide poisoning a few hours later at the hospital. His death is ruled a homicide, and is never solved. The soup was apparently purchased from a store on Clements BRIDGE
Road. Like WELLS
Road (Chicago 1982), Oroville DAM
Road (Oroville 1982) and POND
field (Bronxville 1986), a BRIDGE
is associated with WATER
Austin, Tyler, Nashville, Runnemede and Bronxville are all roughly aligned on the interstate highway system, going in a Northeastern direction from Austin to Bronxville. This is consistent with one person travelling by bus or car and doing all or most of these crimes. And Tyler, Nashville and Bronxville are actually perfectly aligned on the map - you can draw a straight line and go through all three. The I-90 Highway route from Pullman, Washington to Austin, Texas goes right through the Deer Lodge - Helena Montana area, just one hour from the Kaczynski cabin in Lincoln, and it was at a Helena hotel Kaczynski would usually stay on his way to, or coming back from, his criminal acts. And records show Kaczynski did stay at the hotel in Helena during April and May of 1986, consistent with him being on the move out of state to commit these poisoning and tampering crimes. And in the Elsroth case, the CEDAR
Street and PONDFIELD
Road locations of stores with tainted bottles clearly matches the criminal signature of both Ted Kaczynski and the 1982 Tylenol Killer. Of the six victims, four were technicians, three worked in a laboratory, and two worked for universities - all groups targeted for death by Kaczynski.
If you put the names of every American in a hat, and drew out six names, how many technicians would you expect to get? How many lab workers? University lab workers? What would the odds be that all six names would fall from "C" to "G" in the alphabet? We don't know the answers to these question, but they are interesting enough to cause one to wonder if the some of the tamperings were done by placing bottles on store shelves (as clearly happened in the Elsroth case), but if other persons were targeted by tamperings done in their homes.
True crime researcher and writer Doug Oswell discovered one very interesting piece of evidence collected from Kaczynski's cabin that might pertain to these 1986 deaths. Found in Kaczynski's cabin (and included in the prosecutorial documents in U.S. v. Kaczynski) was a single loose-leaf notebook page containing the redacted names of persons living in the Austin and Houston areas, along with a map pinpointing the addresses associated with the Houston names. Yet Kaczynski never did any bombings in Texas.
It would be interesting to see if any of those names are Case or Faries, or the names of other businessmen, scientists, lab workers, University employess or students who might have died young of a "heart attack", "stroke" or "suicide", all common misdiagnoses for Cyanide deaths.
But the debatable verdicts of probable suicides in several of these 1986 cases largely defuse another nationwide panic. Johnson & Johnson acted responsibly and ended capsule production, shifting to tamper proof hard caplets. James Lewis can be ruled out as a suspect in the 1986 crimes because he was in federal prison in 1986. Yet there are strong reasons to think the 1982 and 1986 murders were done by the same person. And once again, significant signature, direct, circumstantial and geographic evidence points to Theodore Kaczynski as a viable suspect.
One other item. We know that Kaczynski sent a bomb to Thomas Mosser, an executive at the public relations firm Burson-Marstellar, which killed Mr. Mosser on December 10, 1994. "MOSS
", of course, grows on TREES
, which may in part be why this man was selected. But why that firm? Kaczynski later briefly mentioned the work of that firm on the Exxon Valdez incident, though it was said that they did not play a significant role in the PR for that incident. But look what major corporate crisis they did work on - from wikipedia:
"Burson-Marsteller’s strong position in crisis management has resulted in its identification with many major corporate crises of the past half century. It is well known for assisting Johnson & Johnson in the two Tylenol crises in 1982 and 1986."
Thus it appears that Kaczynski later targeted and murdered a man who worked for the firm that handled public relations for Johnson & Johnson during both Tylenol tragedies.
A SPECIFIC MOTIVE - THE USE OF CYANIDE AS POETIC JUSTICE?
We have already seen that Kaczynski had strong general motives of a rage against people, a desire to damage the modern technological system and a hatred for corporations, drug companies in particular. But he usually used bombs. So why would he have decided to use Cyanide in 1982? Could there have been a specific motive, arising out of a grudge? A way to enact, in his twisted mind, "poetic justice" against the system he despised?
Cyanide is used in gold and silver mining, something that Kaczynski himself, as well as some of his neighbors, engaged in on a low level individual basis. There are also many major industrial mining operations in Montana that use mass quantities of Cyanide in the mining process. THERE WERE SEVERAL MAJOR SPILLS AND LEAKAGES OF CYANIDE IN MONTANA IN EARLY 1982, INCLUDING ONE IN JUNE OF 1982.
These actions would be deplored by most citizens of Montana, but they would have ENRAGED
Kaczynski, who would regard it as a personal assault on him, the area he loved and even the water he personally drank. He might very well have been inspired to turn Cyanide, the agent of death to his beloved nature, against the very system he hated. Most of the major spills and leakages were by the Pegasus Gold Company. We know that Kaczynski was enraged by these Cyanide spills and leakages because among the items found in his cabin was a death list with the names of the executives of the Pegasus Gold Company listed on it.
This is a partial record of problems by the Pegasus Company at the troubled Zortman/Landusky Mine in Montana:
Zortman/Landusky Ruptured pipe caused 1,200 gallons of cyanide to be spilled.
Zortman/Landusky 50,000 gallons of cyanide solution spilled into Alder Gulch contaminating Zortman's community water supply
. Pegasus was required to replace the drinking water
source. The State issued a $15,000 fine against the company.
Zortman/Landusky 75 gallons of cyanide solution spilled.
Zortman/Landusky 300 gallons of cyanide solution was spilled when the top of a leach pad
froze and cyanide flowed over the top onto the ground.
Zortman/Landusky 4 pounds of cyanide spilled, contaminating groundwater
Zortman/Landusky 780 gallon leak in the gold recovery system. Soil
Zortman/Landusky Bighorn sheep
found dead at cyanide ponds. Media reports indicate that these Cyanide spills and leaks killed TREES and ANIMALS like SHEEP, COWS and ELK, and affected FIELDS and groundWATER. There was specific concern about the Cyanide getting into WELL WATER. CROPS and LIVESTOCK were affected.
A local Indian tribe complained that a sacred site, Spirit MOUNTAIN
, was damaged. The damage also affected an area known as the Little Rocky MOUNTAINS
The Cyanide tampering sites in 1982 included WOODFIELD
, the GROVE
Mall in ELK
Grove Village, WELLS
Ave., Arlington HEIGHTS
, possibly ELM
hurst, etc. WELLS draw WATER
from the ground, BUTTER comes from COWS (LIVESTOCK), WHEAT is a CROP
is a town in Colorado associated with the Rocky MOUNTAINS
are the high points of MOUNTAINS
, a GROVE
is a group of TREES
are a common Montana animal species. The other matches are self explanatory. Several of the selected stores were JEWEL
stores - and the primary use (85%) of mined gold is for JEWELRY
, and it is mass quantities of CYANIDE
that was spilled or leaked to cause the damage, and it was CYANIDE
used as a weapon by the Tylenol Killer.
It appears possible that the Tylenol Killer, by virtue of the poison used and the sites selected, was conveying not just a general idea of the primacy of nature over the industrial consumer system, but a specific message about the massive recent Cyanide damage done to nature in Montana. Looking at the fact that it is Lombard, IL that is the only site on both the vertical and horizontal lines of tampering sites, this would create a potential geographic profile of the Tylenol Killer being a person who was a resident of Montana, an anti-corporate nature lover outraged by the recent Cyanide spills, who traveled through the Sheridan, WY area, had lived in or had ties to Lombard, IL, and was a ruthless killer. The profiles mentioned over the years also generally mention a loner, intelligent, some technical skill, filled with hatred for the world and a desire for revenge. Not only does Theodore Kaczynski fit all the specific geographic, skill and psychological elements of these profiles perfectly and exactly, it is very difficult to imagine that there is a single person anywhere else who would.
There were more problems from 1983 to 1986:
Z/L Mine A leak in the pond
liner was discovered after cyanide contamination was identified in the nearest monitoring well.
Z/L MineStorm event caused mining company to land apply process water on 17 acres of land. Tree kills resulted
Golden Sunlight Mine 19 million gallons of cyanide solution leaked when a tailings impoundment failed. Resulting groundwater contamination
affected the Jefferson River
alluvium. Four domestic wells and a well at the veterinary clinic were contaminated
. Placer Dome was sued by neighboring landowners. The company eventually bought out the landowners.
Z/L Mine A storm caused Pegasus to spray 20 million gallons of process water on a hillside
, resulting in tree kills
. This event involved a nearly catastrophic failure of the pond system.
Golden Sunlight Mine A pipe fitting split and discharged approximately 2,000 gallons of cyanide solution.
So we have damage to a HILL
kills and twice damage to a POND
system. In 1986 the Bronxville (Yonkers) Cyanide Tylenol tampering sites were at CEDAR
Street and PONDFIELD
A ZODIAC KILLER CONNECTION? There is at least one other major unsolved criminal case where Theodore Kaczynski has been frequently mentioned and officially investigated as a suspect, and that is the case of the Zodiac Killer.
The Zodiac Killer killed at least 5 persons in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1968 to 1969, matching the exact time period that Kaczynski lived in the area, mostly as a Professor at the University of California Berkeley. The Zodiac Killer took credit for 37 murders, and was suspected by police and/or journalists of possibly up to 49 murders from 1966 until 1974. Kacsynski apparently visited and interviewed at U CAL Berkeley (and possibly other schools) in the Fall/Winter of 1966, when the first probable Zodiac murder of Riverside College student Cheri Jo Bates took place. So it seems the Zodiac murders happened when Kaczynski visited or lived in the SF Bay area, and stopped when he left. Both Kaczynski and Zodiac were highly interested in and expert at codes and bombs, both wrote letters to the paper demanding they be published on the front page on penalty of death for innocent citizens if they were not, both threatened to bomb mass transit, both made references to opera and literature, both drew symbols of crossed lines inside a circle at crime scenes, both referenced Norse symbols and language, etc. Kaczynski looks very much like the Zodiac sketch, and the similarities in handwriting and word usage are uncanny.
Interestingly, the Zodiac Killer said in one of his later letter letters that his future killing would be disguised as "routine robberies, killings of anger, + a few fake accidents, etc,", which fits the Tylenol Murders. At first, many of the 1982 and 1986 Tylenol and Cyanide deaths were thought to be of natural causes, accidental overdoses, suicides or killings by family members. Zodiac was also suspected of killing a woman in Sonoma County, California named Caroline Davis by Strychnine poison, and in perhaps the first ever case of product tampering, the Fall 1969 sickening of a Martinez, California man named Daniel Williams of BUSH
Street who drank Arsenic put into a Seven Up soda pop bottle. In 1984 Thomas Dresser of Manitowoc, Wisconsin would die after drinking from a Coca - Cola bottle with Cyanide placed in it. An item found in Kaczynski's cabin indicated he may have visited Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as discussed above in the section on the 1986 deaths.
In the Fall of 1972, someone sent food products filled with Cyanide to persons in the Sacramento area, with a message that if the "killer" responsible for the Vietnam War was re-elected, these Cyanide filled products would be put on store shelves. At this time period, Kaczynski was known to spend most of the cold weather months outside Montana, often in California, and was particularly known to frequent the Northern California area in general and the Sacramento area in particular. So in 1972, just as in 1969, 1982 and 1986, areas were it is proven or suspected Kaczynski was at experienced Cyanide tampering incidents.
The Tylenol Murders are the most brutal and baffling unsolved crime in Chicago history, and one of the most puzzling and frustrating unsolved murder sprees in American history. They have resisted all efforts at a solution. And despite the recent flurry of renewed interest in James Lewis, there has never been any evidence to link him to the actual murders, and a lot of evidence to suggest that he did not and could not have done the murders. And we have the enigma of the 1986 Cyanide and Tylenol Deaths, which Lewis could not have done, as he was incarcerated in federal prison at the time.
There is a great deal of signature, direct, circumstantial, geographic, operational, psychological and even some physical evidence that suggests that Theodore Kaczynski may have been the Tylenol Killer. Depending on the available physical evidence in the case, including hotel records, travel records, photographs, handwriting and typewriting on product tampering threat letters, finger prints on tampered bottles, DNA and new forensic evidence, if the police and/or FBI follow up on the evidence and leads generated in this story, it may yet be possible to bring justice, or at the very least some sense of closure, to the victims and families affected by this case.
Though it has been hinted at in recent media reports, I do not know if there is any DNA evidence in the Tylenol Murders. But despite the fact that he is a convicted felon and it is required by at least two seperate federal laws, the DNA of Ted Kaczynski has NOT been entered into CODIS, the national DNA database. Indeed, it has been confirmed by California law enforcement officers investigating a series of Zodiac like unsolved murders that Ted Kaczynski has never even had DNA drawn from his body.
There were different strands of DNA said to be found on a Kaczynski family letter and the very last Unabomber stamp, including a dominant strand of DNA with a "DQA1" of "1.1, 2", but no one can say for sure where that DNA came from. For 18 years DNA was never found on any Unabomber stamps or letters, as Kaczynski had a procedure of never licking stamps or envelopes. He dipped them in salt water while having plastic on his fingers, then rubbed the stamps and letters with soy bean oil. It is doubtful that his actual personal DNA is on any stamps. But since he is in custody and federal laws require it, it should be fairly easy to obtain his DNA, hair, fingerprints and handwriting for comparison to any evidence in the Tylenol Murders and Zodiac cases. See viewtopic.php?f=15&t=69
I do not know if his fingerprints or other evidence have been entered into any national computer databases. I do know his DNA has not, indeed it has never been taken. There is a mountain of potential evidence - all the items recovered from his cabin - but ALL of that will soon be lost. Within months, it is set to be auctioned off to the public.
Copyright 2009 By AK Wilks
Pursuant to the "Fair Use" provisions of the Copyright Laws, this article may be freely quoted from, recopied, reposted and/or republished, in part or in whole, without notice or payment, for news reporting, comment, research, criticism, debate and all other Non-Commercial uses, so long as proper credit is given.