Episode Thirty-Eight: The Tylenol Murders
On the morning of September 29 1982, 12-year-old Mary Kellerman died after taking a capsule of extra strength Tylenol. Adam Janus died in the hospital shortly thereafter. His brother, Stanley and his wife Theresa died after gathering to mourn, taking pills from the same bottle. By October 1 1982, the poisoning had also taken the lives of Paula Prince, Mary Reiner, and Mary McFarland. Investigators soon discovered the common link was they had all taken extra strength Tylenol that upon testing was found to be laced with potassium cyanide.
A number of copycat attacks involving Tylenol and other products ensued during the following years. These incidents did result in the development of tamper-resistant packaging, induction seals and improved quality control methods.
Despite several people being named in connection over the years that followed, no suspect was ever charged or convicted of the Tylenol murders.
Some of our research