This Day in History: 09/29/1982 - Cyanide Tylenol Kills Six - HISTORY

This Day in History: 09/29/1982 - Cyanide Tylenol Kills Six

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On this day in 1982, seven people become mysteriously ill in the Chicago, Illinois, area. Richard Keyworth and Philip Capittelli, firefighters in the Windy City, realized that all seven victims had ingested Extra-Strength Tylenol prior to becoming ill. Further investigation revealed that several bottles of the Tylenol capsules had been poisoned with cyanide. Mary Kellerman, a seventh grader, was the first to die after ingesting the over-the-counter pain reliever. The next victim, Adam Janus, ended up in the emergency room in critical condition. After visiting his older brother in the hospital, Stanley Janus went back to Adam's house with his wife, Teresa. To alleviate their stress-induced headaches, they both took capsules from the open Tylenol bottle that was sitting on the counter. They too were poisoned--Stanley died and Teresa lapsed into a coma. That same day, Mary Reiner, who had a headache after giving birth, was also poisoned. While bottles of Extra-Strength Tylenol were recalled nationwide, the only contaminated capsules were found in the Chicago area. The culprit was never caught, but the mass murder led to new tamper-proof medicine containers. It also led to a string of copycat crimes, as others sought to blackmail companies with alleged poisoning schemes, most of which proved to be false alarms.

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