Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

The Tylenol Murders Thirty Years Ago

One of the most gripping and troubling pieces I've read in a long time: Chicago Magazine's chronological retelling of the seven Tylenol murders that took place in and around Chicago in late September, 1982.  The tragedy begins on Wednesday morning, as a 12 year-old drops dead in her bathroom, and through dozens of interviews of family members, friends, political leaders, doctors and investigators, we follow the unfolding of events, hour by hour, as more and more people are discovered dead with no logical links.  

Except for one. 

Through the efforts of skilled professionals and a little bit of luck, in just over 24 hours after the first death it's concluded that cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules are the culprit.  Within five days, Johnson & Johnson recalls everyTylenol bottle from the shelves nationwide, resulting in an overhaul of how foods and medications are protected ongoing.

Hearing first-hand accounts of the mundane events that lead to so many deaths leaves you feeling hollow, shocked, angry and saddened.  You want to reach out and stop these ordinary people from making that fateful stop to Wahlgreens, or call out and tell them to forego the medication and just go to bed.

Vitality literally asphyxiated.  The crime remains unsolved.

Copyright, 2015, Paul Heinz, All Right Reserved