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7. Initial Reporting of the Tylenol Murders (1982)

The newspaper scans are from my local newspaper, The Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia. 

These are too big to post on tumblr, so here are the links to the newspaper article scans. 

October 1, 1982 Daily Press main page.  {part 2}

October 1, 1982 Times Herald (the Times Herald was Daily Press’ evening newspaper)

Items of note:

"Poison Center Receives Calls": "One woman was convinced she was experiencing the symptoms of cyanide poisoning." One of the reasons why I went out and looked up the microfilm archives of the initial local newspaper coverage, is because I wanted to read about the fright that all the Extra Strength Tylenol was laced with cyanide poisoning. However, it seems even by the first day or so of the poisonings, experts suspected that the poisoned medication was just in the Chicago area, and the cyanide was added after distribution. 

Here are some news stories on/around the time the news broke:

WFTV - Ch. 9, Orlando  - love that creepy guy walking off with the pulled Tylenol.

WBZ-TV 4 Boston - They’re pulling the wrong Tylenol off the shelves in this clip,. The tylenol that was pulled was the capsule version of Extra Strength Tylenol. 

1982 CNN - This was before it was discovered that the cyanide was being put in the capsules away from the manufacturing plant. 

1982 CNN Coverage at the Chicago Poison Control Hotline - “Officials here say if someone took a cyanide laced tylenol, capsule, they probably wouldn’t be able to make it to the phone to call.” 

October 1, 1982 ABC News w/ Ted Koppel {mirror on}- It’s nice to actually see a clip of an ambulance going through a neighborhood telling people not to take Tylenol. I had only read about the loud speakers driving through town via Wikipedia, and I didn’t know if it was true or not.

News4LA Update, October 2, 1982 - I guess this was from early, early early in the morning, since the announcer says that a rebroadcast of the 11pm news will be shown. (Also, totally unrelated, but can’t you imagine Carlton from Fresh Prince dancing to the Carpeteria jingle?)

There was also a hoax related to the case, on October 9th an unknown person sent an extortion letter to the manufacturer of Tylenol demanding that a million dollars be put in a bank account, or more cyanide laced Tylenol would be put on shelves. 1  

In retrospect, its absolutely shocking that by 1982, there was not tamper proof packaging for medications. That someone could just steal/buy these bottles, take them home, easily pop off the bottle without a wrapper, easily take apart the capsules, put poison in them, glue the box back together and sneak them back on the shelves.

Related Links:

VH1 I love the 80s 3D on the story.  

"Poison Madness in the Midwest" story from Time Magazine, October 11, 1982. 

"The Chicago Tylenol Murders, 30 Years Later"