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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Tylenol Murders Suspect Dead

James Lewis, the only suspect in the 1982 Tylenol murders, was found dead

Sunday in his apartment outside Boston, according to reports yesterday. Lewis, 76, had served 12 years in prison for extortion charges related to the incident but was never charged with murder. The case remains open over 40 years later.

In September 1982, seven people died within a 24-hour period in the Chicago area, immediately after taking over-the-counter Extra Strength Tylenol. Investigators later discovered the Tylenol had been laced with cyanide poison, causing a scare across the nation and ultimately leading to the development of tamper-proof packaging.

Lewis was arrested three months later for writing a letter to Tylenol-maker Johnson & Johnson demanding a $1M payment to stop the killings, prompting the then-largest search in US history. He denied involvement in the murders, claiming the letter was a hoax on his wife's ex-boss. Read a narrative of the case here or listen to a podcast retelling here.

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