The Tylenol Murders, Part I

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Stuffy show is brought to you by our friends at rocket mortgage by Quicken Loans. Home is so much more than a house. It's your own little slice of heaven. That's why when you find the perfect place for you and your family, getting a mortgage shouldn't get in the way, a rocket mortgage. They make the home buying process work for you. In fact, they are there with award winning client service and support every step of the way which is why Quicken Loans has helped millions of Americans achieve their dreams of home ownership. And when you're ready to purchase, the home of your dreams, they can help you to visit rocket mortgage dot com slash stuff and take the first step toward the home of your dreams, equal housing lender license, an fifty states and s consumer access dot org number three zero three zero. Hey friends before we get going. We are super excited to announce our true thousand nineteen live tour. Yes. We're still alive. And we're gonna come proper cells up on stage in front of you in cities around the country and Canada. That's right. Everyone tickets go on sale this Friday at ten AM your local time. Wherever these cities are, and we're going to kick things off, and the great city of Chicago, July twenty four th at the Harris theater, followed the next night at the Danforth theater in Toronto Canada on July twenty fifth. Yep. Then we're going to take a month long nap and wake up and on Thursday. August twenty ninth we're going to take ourselves to Boston mass at our beloved Wilbur theatre the next night. We're going to a new city first time ever important main at the state theatre. I'm so excited about that one me, too. And then Chuck, we're going to take a nap for another full month. Wake up again dust ourselves off and go to Orlando Florida for the first time ever, we're going to be at plaza live Yemen. I Florida show, and then we are finishing up that many leg in New Orleans. Yep. Thursday, October tenth at the civic theatre were returning so prepare the city for partying everybody. That's right. And we're going to wrap it up, at least for now at our beloved bell house, in Brooklyn, New York for three shows October twenty third twenty fourth and twenty fifth. Again, folks. Tickets for all these shows go on sale this Friday today. 'em, your local time, and just go to all of these venue, websites for ticketing. Yep. Thank you for coming to see us in advance everybody. We're excited. Welcome to step, you should know a production of I heart radio. How stuff works? Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh thirst. Chuck. There's Josh not meet. There's Chuck guess producer. Josh is back in the house. And there's little Chuck in your pocket. Little elvis. I was just. You got that, right. Oh man. What a great sketch. That was nNcholas cage, isn't it? Yeah. Man. Did you ever? See mandy. Yes. It was terrible. I don't care. What anybody else says? You hate it. Terrible. Terrible movie. Yeah nolan. I talked about it on movie crush. He's seen it like four times thinks it's the best thing ever. Come on people. The love it or hate it now, it's like actually, I was kind of in the middle where you really. Yeah. I mean I told him young Chuck like twenty two year old college, Chuck sure would probably liked it. A lot more. But today, Chuck was kinda like I get it like sure. Sure. Parts of it were fine. Sure to me. Spending an hour doing character development, but not successfully, making you care about the characters and really irked me. Well, you had structural issues. Yeah. That was really the big thing, Alyssa, thought Linus Roache was very, very odd for casting, but his aunt, which was in beanbag guy, cult leader. That was weird very weird. I don't even know him. But he's from law and order, again, like some other stuff. You gotta get into what you're missing out, that's becoming a bit. So. Do we serve recording yet? I think so welcomed everybody the podcast. That's right. So Chuck, we are with this is some true crime stuff for getting into here. That's right. But we feel like we need to set the tone, right? Because this isn't this didn't happen just yesterday this happened way back in nineteen eighty two in Chicago, Illinois in, I remember this man, though. I was like six at the time it was one of my favorite years because of this. The opposite of that. Right, mainly because of movies, all of us. So great about nineteen eighty to look it up, man while I was kind of hoping he played runner. Oh, really? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That was some of the best movies. Do you know I didn't see Bladerunner until I was forty? That's not true. Is it is? Oh, really? Yes. The original the original Bladerunner did you like it? Yeah. It was good. I liked the second one to you like they spent way too much time on character. Yet, and I just did a little poking around about nine hundred eighty two and it was, it was a good year for an eleven year old but it was an uneasy time in America, well for a bunch of awful things happen that year and I don't know if it was any more less than other years. But air flight ninety crashed into into the Potomac river, remember that. No in Washington DC, the plane crash in the reverted hit a bridge. Maybe but those, those like a daring, icy river rescue, really. Yeah. Seventy eight people died, though, that same day a metro train in DC derailed tree people. Geez. February was when Wayne Williams was convicted Gotcha. And that was just the end of a lot of unease. You know for years. Yeah. Klaus bam. Beulah was found guilty of attempted murder of his wife in March. I didn't make it to the end of reversal of fortune. So I honestly didn't know happened to Klaus guilty in June was the murder of Vincent chin, who was a Chinese American who was beaten to death by two men in Michigan thinking he was Japanese and they were like stealing his there oughta work. Oh my God. I know. Right. And then July ninth Pan Am flight seven five nine goes down in Louisiana. Louisiana kills all one hundred forty six people on board, plus, eight more on the ground and then in September early September tough. When I remember planes crashed. Yeah, a lot. Yeah. That never happens now not as much, but yeah, weird that we're recording this in the midst of more plane crash, and then early September was when that paper boy, an Iowa Iowa was kidnapped and never seen again. Johnny gauche? I don't know that one that was the big deal too, because it was, you know, the paper boy, in those this false story about a, a pedophile ring from politicians in that turned out not to be true, but he was never found again. So basically everything that's going on. Today is just a rehash of nineteen eighty two. It sounds like I just remember being about that age and they're just the nightly news, sort of just being a horror show and not politically speaking, you know, like real bad incidences occurring well, yeah. Plane crash, like just about at any age like that'll they'll bring you down. If you see that on the news, for sure. Yeah. Because, you know, when you get on a plane, you think maybe this plane will go down, while I'm on it, and that would be terrible, although I was flying at eleven. So all of those things you just mentioned sweep 'em totally off the table. Because come the end of September of that year, nothing else mattered. But what we're about to talk about now. That's right. Nothing nothing came close to taking the over the national psyche. Like the deaths of seven people beginning on September twenty thousand nine hundred eighty two in Chicago, Illinois yet, in one of the articles are read about this. I mean are we trying to keep it a secret? It's the show title, right? Yeah. Yeah. I think they're gonna have to figure it out. So. Yeah, the Tylenol murders. Yeah. Okay. You like. Oh, no, no. That's the comes up in part to. Oh yeah, this is a two parter as well. So buckling everybody. So I was doing some research, though in a saw one article that said something about, you know, the first domestic terror incident, United States that nobody's ever heard of like what to hasn't heard of this, a millennial wrote that headline. Well, I have to say Josh on the way in here. Yeah. I told them Tylenol murders and he, he goes, what's Tylenol? You will codger. We should probably say, what Tylenol is okay. Yeah, I guess, just in case you are a millennial you've never heard of Tylenol, but Tylenol was and still is an over the counter pain reliever like you have aches and pains. And apparently, what's crazy people would take Tylenol whatever was wrong with them, right? Because now you can go get like you know aspirin. And, and you could get Advil and Aleve. There was no Aleve back then nineties drug, there's way more over the counter pain relievers, now than they were back then back then Tylenol was basically it. Yeah. It's see Dominican, which is different than aspirin. And I think a lot of people just think those are interchangeable, right. With the reason I believe Tylenol became so big is because aspirin up says a lot of people stomachs. Right. Tylenol does not hurts not supposed to. And that's why it came out of nowhere. And just took over the Asper for market. I think by nineteen eighty two. Island all had thirty seven percent of the market. It's pretty good Horner. Yeah. Yeah. Almost half, especially since like some of the other like aspirins have been around since, you know, might teach century. Right. So it makes sense then that when a little girl named Marianne Kellerman complained that she had a sore throat and wasn't feeling too good at, like seven AM on Wednesday, September twenty ninth nineteen eighty to her parents said, just take an extra strength Tylenol and go back to bed man, I sore throat magin, the guilt. Oh, no. He's parents feel well they'll blow it. We haven't said what happens to Marianne Kellerman yet. I think everybody knows yeah. She got up said, I'm sick. He said, take this, the father said he heard her going to the bathroom and close the door. Then heard something drop and went to the door saying a yo can, you're okay, no answer opened the door in there. She is on the floor taken to the hospital, but died. Very quickly. Yeah. Probably was dead when she went to the hospital was pronounced there, and she they suspected. And this is just a little twelve year old girl of middle school girl into Jane Addams middle school. She they think she died of a stroke. That's what they thought happened here. They were just so baffled that they're like, had to have been a stroke. That's the only thing that can come on like this. Yes. So that's seven AM just the day is just beginning in one atrocity is already happened. Yeah. This is a this is a very bad day in the history of Chicago September. Twenty nine hundred eighty two yeah. Absolutely. And it started early. Adam, Janice, who will detail his story, but put a pin in this one, too, because he figures in even more prominently in a minute, but a little bit later that same morning, this gentleman Adam, Janice. He's twenty seven years old and lived in Arlington heights, and other Toco suburb, and he died. And they think. That this is a heart attack. He complained of chest pains after he had driven his daughters. Neighbor home from school said, I'm going to take the day off comes home eats. A little lunch, takes two extra strength Tylenol that he bought from a local drugstore collapses in front of his wife. And by you know, a few minutes, later when the paramedics arrived he was dead. Right. And again, like you said they said, heart attack because he'd been complaining of chest pains, which had nothing to do with it. Right. But just like Marianne Kellerman took an extra strength Tylenol for sore throat. He's hook some extra stream silent offer. Some chest pains. This is just what people did back that. Yeah. And that's what complicated it a little bit. I was that, you know, if you take the Tylenol that means he felt bad already. So obviously, you know they're going to be saying, like, wait a minute chest pains or sprite wrote, like how does that figure in? Yeah. And it didn't. Plus, also, what made the even more baffling is that Marianne Kellerman was twelve in healthy Adam Janus was twenty twenty-seven and healthy. Yeah. And all of a sudden they just dropped. People don't just drop dead. No matter what you see on TV or in the movies or whatever dropping dead inexplicably. A really bizarre thing. Inter a healthy person doesn't happen next. We have a Mary Reiner, same day, same day. This is still all on the same day. She's twenty seven years old. She's feeling a little dizzy, she had just come home from the hospital after having given birth to her fourth kid a couple of days before super super sad. All of these are, obviously, but being a just a brand new mom for the fourth time just so tragic then by three forty five she was so ill. She was rushed back to the hospital and again died very, very quickly. Yeah. And like Adam Jonah's collapsed in front of his wife. She collapsed in front of her young eight year old daughter, one of the children's are and yeah, when she was taken the hospital. They pronounced her dead as well. This is mid afternoon may. Gary McFarland was up next. She was over in the, the suburb of Lombard. And she worked at a Illinois bell phone center where you remember like you go get your phone like the rotary phone. The you know you'd actually lease your phone. I, I wasn't involved in that process, but we had them in our home. Okay. Well, your parents, whenever new that Lakers. They just bought that stuff. No. There was like a store where you go. It's like the phone companies retail store and you ago and be like that pink one. It's like smartphones today, kind of say model kind of. Yeah. I guess so. But this was with a big clunky rotary phone, and you had to pay extra for the extra long court. Well, Mary McFarland worked in one of these stores in it about four o'clock at the Eleanor bell phone center. She was she had a massive headache that just came on out of nowhere. And she went and back and got some extra strength Tylenol out of her purse took a couple of them. And within minutes collapse. In the store. Yes. She was young as well. She was thirty one years old, mother of two and then remember I was talking about Adam Janice, a few minutes ago. His family goes to the hospital. Obviously everyone converges there he passes away in. So the family makes their way home to begin morning and just sort of trying to reconcile, what had just happened his brother Stanley. He was only twenty five and then his wife, Teresa, who was only nineteen are both just overcome in worn out and have headaches. So they're at Adams house. They gotta his medicine cabinet get out the Tylenol the he took completely unknowingly, obviously and Stanley hits the ground foam comes from his mouth, his eyes roll back in his head. Everyone's freaking out. And if you minutes later, his wife collapses, and they call the ambulance by the time the ambulances get there think Stanley died that day. Hey, in Theresa, somehow manage to live a coupla days. Yes. She hung on. I don't know if like her doses lesser what, but, but she, she survived for a couple of days after that. Yeah, I mean, my guess is that there just wasn't as much cyanide in the capsule? She took right? Did I just give something else away? But the so Stanley took his Tylenol first, and then Theresa's occurs, and one of the paramedics noted, like Theresa was the one that called the, the ambulance out to come out for Stanley when they get there. They're, they're both like on the ground. What's going on, in one of the paramedics said everything that was happening to the guy happened to the woman. Like a couple of minutes later, right? Like she was just following him through this process of, like basically systemic organ failure. And this is the same day that the his brother had passed away. Yup. This is about five six hours, six hours after Adam, Janice had died, then finally another his all tough to go through everyone. We almost selected this is our next live show. I'm really glad we could. I mean, can you imagine trying to live in this up with some jokes? I thought the whole time I was like, no, we can do that. But yeah, the more I got into it was like this is probably not good live material, right? We should have a rule of thumb that any story that begins with the death of a twelve. Year old girl, not live show. Material think you're right. So finally, we have Paula prints. Paula Jean prints. This is a couple of days later. This is not the same day. This is on Friday evening. She was a thirty five year old flight attendant, and she was found dead in her apartment after police responded for a welfare check that her sister called in saying, hey, you know, I know she's a flight attendant and all, but no one knows where she has. Can you go check on her welfare checkup and they finally found her and she was gone? Yes. Very, very sad. He was found in her bathroom with a bottle of extra strength. Tylenol still open on the counter. And she they looked into. Her receipts and found that she had purchased it a Wednesday September twenty ninth. That's right. So at the end of this very short span of time in the Chicago area, we have seven people dead. And a feel like that's a good time to take a message break. Yeah. Yeah. No. Hey, Josh, here's a stat for you. Okay. Laid on me there were nearly eight hundred thousand vehicles stolen in the United States in two thousand seventeen wow. This a lot of stolen cars, Chuck. That's right. But it doesn't have to be this way, because of onstar. Yes, I've heard of onstar, everybody's heard of onstar. They actually have a feature and called stolen vehicle slowdown. It's pretty awesome. It gives her specially trained advisers the ability to help locate and actually, remotely slowed down your stolen vehicle. They can even put a block on the engine. That prevents a thief, from restarting it, it's basically saying go no further thief bit. That's really satisfying to the ical theft can come to any town everyone any neighborhood even yours. But with an onstar equipped car, and a paid plan, you can have stolen vehicle slowdown and an adviser ready to help twenty four seven onstar be safe out there on stars available on Chevrolet, Buick GMC and Cadillac requires select paid plan. So reception. GPS. Signal and working electrical system doesn't prevent theft damage or loss. Details on star dot com. Okay. Chuck. So you said cyanide. How did you know that? Because I was eleven years old. And I watched the nightly news. Like I'll eleven year olds just called. Right. Just me and Brokaw, Dan, rather. Yeah. Coppell. Yup. Who else those it Peter Jennings? He came a little later. Richer was he? Yeah, yeah, he came after somebody whelming Cronkite was still around was ear. Was he? I don't know. I don't think so. I was I was going into the news as a kid a little bit. Oh, yeah. I mean, that was that was where you got your news back then. Yeah, you would watch the evening news. It's very strange to think about now. Right. With the with the up to the minute news cycle. So, yeah, I know how much more innocent things were back, then I know. So remove yourself from the benefit of hindsight, or the benefit of Dan rathers insight and put yourself in the shoes of the people in Chicago, right? Yeah. These are five these are seven different deaths. I think from five different townships in the greater Chicago area, including Chicago Paulo prints, the last person to die lived in Chicago. These people aren't talking, these people have no idea. What's going on is just that there were five seven separate baffling deaths? You keep saying five, you want to view fewer people to be dead. Yeah, I do. It's good. My wishes aren't working the. Just so happens that the ambulance paramedics that showed up to attend to marry Marianne, Kellerman, the first girl, the die. They were just logging everything because there was such a baffling thing, and they logged her Tylenol. Yeah. Log is in collected right? Yeah. Took it as evidence to maybe look into who knows your but they took the extra shrink tile and all that she had taken not thinking anything of it. But just basically throwing anything at the wall to see what stuck, I'm sure the dad was, like, you know, she went and took some Tylenol and drop dead. Right. So probably made sense, even though it's just Tylenol to say, like, well, hey, listen, at least take this in. Yes. And that Tylenol that right? You know, because that bottle of Tylenol made its way into the hands of a medical examiner, whose name was Michael Shaffer, and Michael Schaffer tested, the Tylenol, and it was rather surprised to find that some of the capsules had not Tylenol in it. But. Sixty five milligrams of potassium cyanide. Yeah. And it takes about fifty milligrams to kill a healthy adult. Yeah. I mean some of them, I don't think they're all exactly the same. But some of them had been completely emptied of any acetaminophen and completely filled with cyanide with cyanide, right? Yeah. I mean it was it was someone intent on for sure killing people. Yes. Because cyanide is no joke. Now it's a, it's a really really small molecule, and it normally attached to medals outside of the body, which is why you have protests or minerals. I guess which have potassium cyanide, right? When it goes into the body when you ingest, it, however you ingest, it, whether it's from a Tylenol capsule or breathing cyanide gas, like they used to use execute people with the up like they stopped using it for executions because it was such a brutal death. Yeah. It's very cruel painful way to die in the body. It detaches from its its mineral or metal. And it attach to a protein in the body called cited chrome. See oxidise which doesn't sound like it'd be a big problem. But it turns out that, that's about the worst protein that cyanide could attach itself to because we really need cited chrome. See oxidized to breath. Yeah. Basically it I mean this sounds like such a cruel thing because it's just rapid cell death in. It's not like your throat closes up and you can't breathe like you're inhaling oxygen, and you, you are technically taking breaths, but the oxygen is not getting in the cells. No, it's not because that see that cited chrome. See oxidise is what helps transport the oxygen and in allows the oxygen to be used for energy. Yeah. So if the potassium is clinging to it, the oxygen can't it just stays in the bloodstream, and it doesn't get used by the cells. As into your central nervous system is the most oxygen hungry system in your entire body has a lot of work. It's starts to shut down. I your brain and your spinal cord start, shutting down all sorts of things happen, your long start, shutting down your heart. God bless it keeps beating for minutes after the rest of their body shutdown in so you're not. Technically dead. They're not sure exactly how long the pain in excruciating of dying from cyanide lasts, but they think you're probably conscious in aware and freaked out for about a minute, at least in your heart may continue beating for three or four minutes after that. So it's not a pleasant death at all. No, I mean you're you're gasping for air. You're breathing in air, nothing's happening like I said, Stanley, Janice. He was foaming at the mouth, and his eyes rolled back in his head in front of his family. It's just like it's awful, like riding on the floor gasping for air, you're breathing, but it's not doing anything. It's just can't imagine anything more horrifying, right? Because your central nervous system has kind of fallen out of its out of controller rhythm convulsions are usually a, a hallmark of cyanide poisoning. And then he turned bright red at the end of it. Yeah. In a cherry red. They said because when your body has gotten rid of oxygen to your cells in the. Oxygen becomes depleted, your, your skin kinda turns like a rusty brownish red. But because it can't unload that oxygen when you're dead. It stays a bright red in your skin turns bright, red, and then the other real, telltale sign is your breath, will smell bit like almonds. Yeah. I mean not a bit. I mean these bottles, supposedly were really pungent with bitter almond. And unless you know what that means, then you're probably not clued in, you know, like I wouldn't I wouldn't have known I opened a bottle of Tylenol, and it smelled like bitter, almond had probably be like, right. That's nice smell actually. Yeah. I like this Tylenol guess they have an new almond flavor awful, so Michael Shaffer that medical examiner has just realized that this little girl has been poisoned, but he, he knows nothing about these other deaths. Yeah, there's nothing like that. It's not entirely clear, how everything became connected, or. Who connected it? But what I find particularly astonishing is that within just a few hours by that evening by the evening of September. Twenty ninth people were saying there's something up with the Tylenol in these mysterious deaths that have been going on all around Chicago. Yeah. Not. I mean, we'll get into the, the dragnet they cast, but within a few days, they had kind of solved everything, but who did it in how it may have happened who done it, who done? So yeah, very quickly. They figured out the Tylenol, and there are a couple of different stories on, like you said, on who, who was the first person to point this out, one story is that a reporter for the city news bureau in Chicago was doing the reporter thing in doing some deep diving in investigating and called up a deputy coroner and said, hey, I think this is what's happening. They told the police, another story is that to people who didn't know each other came together, independently to let people know one was a fire cap to name Philip Kappa taily. I knew it. I knew you're going to do that. There was like a ninety percent chance. You know why? 'cause we got a lot of support from people that wrote in saying, I'm Italian and I love it. Keep doing it. Right. And only one guy who hated it. But I ran it was fire captain Philip capita leagues. Right. So he here he was his deal his, his mother-in-law. Law was friends with Mary Kellerman. The victim's mother, the first of the little girl, and she said, hey, would you mind looking into this, 'cause I'm friends with this little girl's mom, and it's weird that she dropped dead at twelve and he's a fire captain, and they're all connected to, you know, the police into the medical community. Everybody knows you want something done. Ask a fire captain, I would share because they'll bust into the room with an app. Get everybody's attention. So he's he's investigating. And then there's this. There's a nurse named Helen Jensen, and she I don't do you know why she was so into this case was she just do? No, no, no. She was the public health nurse for Cook County. I believe okay, so she had an official designation to investigate. Yes. But unfortunately, no one would listen to her because this is nine hundred eighty two and she was a nurse. Right. Even though she was like a public health director. She was still a nurse. In people. Winless, turn she recalled in an oral history. I read about this. Yeah, that she was stopping her feet out of frustration saying, like there's something wrong with the Tylenol, the Tylenol is behind all this, and people wouldn't listen to her to supposedly she and Philip. Got together and join forces. Right. And I guess we're able to convince everybody that no there's something wrong with the with the Tylenol and by this time people started talking. Sure. And, you know, the, the idea that Michael Schaffer hit identify Tylenol. I don't know if it was the same day or the day after something like that. But all this is within a span of thirty six forty eight hours taught is really fast said, all of this is going on that the dots were being connected, right? So then what follows is cook county's deputy chief medical examiner. Dr Edmund Donoghue holds, oppressor, I either watch this winter. One of the other ones, like I remember specifically seeing this press conference on the news, probably saw chain burns, that would have been the, the nationwide, when I guess. Yeah. And I was like how the been nationwide, and then looked it up. WGN was a SuperStation starting in nineteen eighty oh, you know, it men so ever. Everybody saw it because WGN could broadcast nationwide by nineteen eighty two. I will watch the cubs games is your head just because it was on that. Was it like that embrace games role? You can, so Dr Donahue has oppressor, a local presser, of course, there is panic initially. Yeah. He's scares the s out of everybody 'cause he comes out of nowhere and says, stop taking the Tylenol. Oh, yeah. Sure. And so anyone, I mean, imagine how many people in Chicago had taken Tylenol within two hours of that press conference. Right. Enter thinking, like a show. I go to the hospital, right? And as a matter of fact, the poison control lines for basically every in every city where somebody saw this started to light up right after that. And people were like I just took Tylenol am I okay? Or gave my kid? Can you imagine? And the what came to be the Pat response was if you are still standing in talking to us. You probably okay. Which is sort of a double edged sword. Right. It's like, don't worry you die. Superfast right. Kind of so just relaxed. So just hold the line for five minutes. Then when he come back and check on Yoon if you're still talking, you're fine. Oh man. All right. So then the Chicago mayor's office gets involved. Like you said, mayor Jane Byrne, she gets says, you know, print a bunch of flyers print them in a bunch of languages, maybe on, Goldenrod and cornflower blue. Sure. Why not really catch people's attention? She had police drive through with loudspeakers on their car, but really saying. Yeah, like, don't take Tylenol reenacting that scene from the blues brother's whether dry I was thinking slacker. That's funny, two different movies. But you remember their driving through in the police car with the loudspeaker talking about their, their show. Yeah, same as slacker, I don't remember. I don't I guess I didn't make the Indus lacquer either. It was in the middle ish. It was no dazed and confused. Just different movies. So they're they're posting flyers cops are driving around blaring it through neighborhoods. And then she has a press conference. She has all Tylenol removed from the Chicago area. She calls for it. Well, sure she didn't go around with their her basket, right? No, I'm not a hundred percent clear. If she was actually able to demand that the Tylenol be removed. I think she was more warning. Yeah. I mean I doubt if there was any law she could invoke, I wonder, though, seems like you would, if there were that I would imagine that's you know, we'll talk about that later. Okay. So the TV and the radio, you know, obviously, everyone picks us up not just in Chicago, or the United States. It goes worldwide. Yeah. And so, you know, there's people in Europe in Asia pulling Tylenol off the shelves. Yeah. So this is a big deal. And there was a lot of attention lavished on this there. A poll that was taken the next month in October. That found that ninety per this was in cities, all over the country that found that ninety percent of respondents were aware of this Tylenol poisoning story. Yeah. Some, some press agency, like a news clipping service said that it's the number of the number of stories, dedicated to it were second only to the number of stories, dedicated the assassination of JFK. That's how big this story became overnight. And again, one of the reasons why is because everybody took Tylenol for everything all the time. That's just what you did. It was just something. Everyone took and that same product was now killing people. So the most chilling part of all this to me, and this is all chilling, maybe the copycat stuff because almost immediately copycat incidences started popping up all over the country. There were two hundred seventy reports a product ham. Bring in the month after thirty six were quote hardcore true tamperings, and that's what's most chilling to me is like there were that many people at least thirty six let's go in the low end thirty six people across the country that wanted to kill people and just saw an idea. And like, oh, that's what I'll do. Now. I should have thought of that myself. I mean that's scary man. Yeah, what's what's scary? But also, infuriating is that there's such terrible self starters that they had to be a copycat murderer in that, right? You know what I'm saying? Sure. It's bad enough that they're trying to kill somebody. Yeah. Randomly kill somebody anonymously killed somebody didn't even think of it themselves on. That is a pathetic murderer. Right. They're pretty pathetic. Put my foot down excedrin extra strength excedrin capsules were found poison with mercuric chloride, and that almost killed a man in Colorado. His name was William sink of it. And he got he had liver and kidney failure, but he did survive this one gets me. So more than one person thought, oh, well, you know, people spray in, like drop things in their eyes and nose up acid in there, so tampered sign X in tampered vise in both turned up after they had burned people with acid chemical burn, up your nose. Unbelievable. Yeah. That's the bad one. So food was also on the list of things being tampered with orange juice. Chocolate milk, very high profile incident with ballpark hotdogs. Yeah. They pulled a million pounds of wieners off the shelves and random through a metal detector. Yeah. Because this was a scare all, you know, the old urban legend of razor blades in Halloween candy. I don't did. They actually find pins and needles and things. Yes. Sure. Yes. Okay. Because I thought that had literally never happened it hadn't. It was an urban legend that became true. Okay. But nothing in, in the. Wieners. No, some boys. I think in Detroit claim to have found razor blades in their ballpark wieners. And like you said, a million pounds were recalled and then the boys were like just kidding. Wow. Yeah. Ballpark? We'll talk about how ballpark was treated after that. But they were put on shoulders and carrying around for how great the handle there. And, you know, there are a lot of hoaxes. There were a lot of tips called in about other tampering, and it had a really like it. If the purpose of this was to induce panic and fear and terror than it absolutely worked. Absolutely should we take another break. I think so, man, we're gonna come back and talk about the investigation. We need to talk about something Chuck. Yes. Constipation abdominal pain and bloating. That's right. Man. You tell yourself. It's not that bad. You take laxatives modify your diet and exercise routine, but thinking about it all the time is frustrating. Yeah, do you find yourself making up excuses instead of admitting to people that you don't wanna go out because you're really worried about leaving home, despite your best efforts to feel better your symptoms? Keep coming back. Is this, right? Yeah, man. At this feels all to relatable, you are not alone. If your gut symptoms return again, and again, and again, you don't know why it may be time to seek help like thirteen million others. You might have a real medical condition called irritable bowel syndrome with. Constipation or. IB. S C. Yup. To get more info about your symptoms, and I be SC go to, oh, my, gut dot info slash podcast and learn about your constipation abdominal pain and bloating. And if you're ready. Out ways to talk to your doctor or access one online. That's owned my gut dot I in oh slash podcast. Okay, chuck. Also want to point this out time magazine, you know, how I'm like super into going back and reading contemporary news articles about an event this one. I mean it's all over the place but time wrote about the copycat incidents back in nineteen eighty two. And they said that the copycats were trying to quote emulate, their demonic euro, the still unknown poisoner, their demonic euro. That's what the journalists from time decided to go with. That's funny. I mean, that seems like a very two thousand nineteen to. Right. This is what I'm saying. I feel like we're reverting back to nineteen eighty two right now. All right. I guess, so after that intro of years, I'm now convinced right? So everybody's freaked out there their whole towns that canceled Halloween because remember this happened like a month before Holloway lean and everyone was very scared about candy tampering because the urban legend chur in some places. It turned out to be true. A self-fulfilling prophecy. They're all these hoaxes. They're all these actual true. Product tampering, copycats people were freaked out and the cops needed to do something and initially these seven different deaths in five different towns in the Chicago area were being treated as five different investigations, that didn't last very long within two days by Friday, by the time mayor burn holds her press conference on WGN. What came to be called the Tylenol task force was formed, all five of those investigations got folded into not just local investigations the FBI the Illinois state police FDA, of course. Yeah, the FDA was involved. The in the whole thing was led by the Illinois district attorney's office, who was the nominal head of the investigation. Yes. So they figured out pretty quickly that, you know, like I said earlier, they cast their dragnet they come up with about a. A fifty mile radius of where all this stuff was bought and sold and go investigate drugstore after drugstore. And they did find more more bad Tylenol still sitting on the shelves. Thankfully, yeah, I, I don't want to skim pass that they found more Tylenol waiting to be bought. That's right. Like just sitting there, like, hey, come by me, within two days of, of these deaths Ness, right? I murder we keep calling him deaths. He's reminders. That's right. And they name their, their case. There's they're always codenames for all these cases, this one ranks pretty low in my opinion. Timers. T. Y. M. U R S short, obviously, for Tylenol murders at the very least the S should have been Z timers. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's give it a little flavor. Agreed. So the cops are there was some confusion about how this went down because they're trying to figure out, you know, that happened at the factory did it happened after the factory. What's the supply chain? Like, that's huge. It's like the crux of the investment. Absolutely. Where did the tainting occur? Yeah. So they found out that all of the containers were from lot. Number MC twenty eight eighty which was pushed out an August. Again, this is the end of September. Yep. In states, east Allstate's, east of the Mississippi, plus the Dakotas Nebraska in a bit of Wyoming, ten to touch Ohio Ming for flavor that you're like busy for that mosquitoes flavor. Right. However, they were from different production plants, and they were sold in different drugstores, which is weird. It's tough to wrap your head around that because as yeah, what? Right, but they came from different plants, right? And it turns out Tylenol has also. Really weird convoluted distribution network. I think that's every company. Okay. I have a friend that works in supply chain management. Now, it's like it's still supposedly, they'll, they'll take boxes in open them up in repackage them in smaller boxes and it happens, it like different different companies at different points around the country. It's pretty complicated. It is for from a product from factory to your mouth. Right. Like what happens to kind of everything. Yeah, I would think simplicity would be safer much. You know, probably not cheaper though. You're probably right. So what they finally figured out was, here's what we think happened is this stuff was not tainted at the factory, the stuff was not tainted in the supply chain. But this stuff was tainted it from the store, and then return back to the store. Right. Because these pills were sold in different stores, which is a big one because. Not only could it have been like part of the factory, it could have been one of the local stores distribution centers, where there is somebody messing with it, but since they were sold in jewel food stores in Walgreens and other places to around the Chicago area that didn't make any sense. It couldn't have just been like the jewel distribution center. It also because they were coming from different production plants. It really couldn't have been the production plant or the factory where it came from right? Had to be like you said happening at the stores yet, and there were a lot of initial theories, you know, was it someone who, like a former disgruntled employees of Johnson. And Johnson was it someone was it just a serial killer who just picked Tylenol and wanted to randomly kill people. Right. And this is that's weird. That's a weird idea at the time like now. Yes. Seems normal like yeah, probably sad. But this, but this is two years before the Sanusi dro- McDonald's massacre, which is one of the very. One of the next random killings of people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is kind of the first of that, but it was still so new and remote in alien that, that's the didn't seem like a realistic idea at the time. Yeah. Some of the other ideas, they thought maybe this was someone that was targeting a specific person, or people, and then randomly poisoned, other people to cover their tracks, one of the weird, one of the weird theories that came out later after and spoiler alert, we now have tamper-proof medicines jer everyone's noticed that was one theory that it was someone who had a financial stake in tamper proof technology. Yeah. I saw something like that, too. I don't think there was ever a ton of credence put into that one. But point is there are a lot. I mean there were flying blind basically because it was just such an unexpected odd random thing. Right. We're basically coming up with kind of any idea. They could think of, but the one that the cops settled on in the one that Johnson and Johnson also settled on because they went back and tested samples from lot MC twenty eighty and found that there was no no, there's no -taining of the of the lot, raise their samples were pure, so the cops and Johnson and Johnson, both decided they settled on what's called the mad poisoner theory. Right. That somebody went around this fifty mile radius in, in the Chicago area in about seven hours, is what the cops calculated it would have taken either bought a bunch of Tylenol and then took it back to their house empoisoned it repackaged it. And then drove around and redistributed it or went from store to store, went in bought some Tylenol. Took it out to the car poisoned, and then repackaged it and brought it back in. But that it was local and it was specific to Chicago. That was the, the mad poisoner theory. And again, why still no one has any idea why it could have been randomly could have been targeting. Somebody it could have been a disgruntle Johnson Johnson employees. But the, the main theory for the Tylenol killings of nineteen eighty two in Chicago is the mad poisoner theory. Yeah. Do you know how they tested that? The rest of that lot, how they got Detective John pinky McFarland, you had the best drug pinky and all of Illinois. And he went around and dip that pinky in touched it to his tongue said, it's good. He's like, I can't feel my face. Right near the guy's a legend. Yeah. He's his pinky is pinky ring is so significant barely lift is finger the only lifted to test drugs. I told you eat funds of jokes. So by mid October. The this is sort of the, the final bit of part, one here. There was another bottle that people that they found another tainted bottle, so crazed. It was purchased on September twenty ninth. So it fit the Bill, and it was a woman who was feeling bad and went to go get that Tylenol. And her sister was like, no. I've got some buffering right here. Just go ahead and take that. And the lady presumably said, well, I really prefer seat him if in, but I guess, I'll take an aspirin Tia her, her sister-in-law saved her by offering her buffering, instead, you believe that he was steps away from dropping dead. At a family gathering. Unbelievable. Yep. That is a good place to stop. Yeah. So that's part, one of the Tylenol murders or timers with an S, we're gonna come back with par to after this. You wanna get in touch with us in, in the meantime, you can go onto stuff, you should know dot com and check out our social links or you can send us a good old fashioned Email hundred eighty two version to stuff podcast. And iheartradio dot. Stuff you should know is production of iheartradio's, how stuff works for more podcasts. My heart radio is the iheartradio app, apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Tom Chelsea handler. And I'm launching a brand new podcast with iheartradio called life will be the death of me. And I'm gonna talk to all these different people, my BFF Mary McCormack. That's what we should call. My book tour the apology, or great idea. Sorry. Everyone on this whole podcast should be called. It should be called with the orange because of the orange theme of the book Archie. Glad I went to therapy. Life will be the death of me with. Chelsea handler listening subscribe at apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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