The Real Story
For over 30 years now, the world has been told the same story over and over again of how the 1982 Tylenol Cyanide Murders happened. Some lone serial killer went store-to-store in September of 1982 placing tainted bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol on several different retail shelves looking to kill random people. The deaths of seven Chicago-area residents in one day put the entire nation into total hysteria about taking Tylenol — or anything for that matter— as terrorism through any consumable product had never happened before. Safety seals did not exist yet— as there was not a reason— until now— to need them.
Losing my mom to the murders, I believed this story for most of my life. I believed this supposed madman theory. I pictured the casual walk into the store. Look around a second— ok, no one is watching. No need to worry about surveillance cameras, as they were mostly nonexistent in 1982. Pull a bottle of poisoned Tylenol out of his pocket and place it front and center on the shelf with the rest of the Extra Strength Tylenol. Without tamper-resistant packaging, the contaminated bottle would blend right in. There really was no reason to question it. The approved theory made sense to me. I could not possibly relate to anyone killing people, let alone randomly, so I did not have any reason to disagree with what authorities and media were telling us on how this happened. It was a man who had it out for the makers of Tylenol— Johnson & Johnson— or just was a serial killer who happened to pick that brand.
It was told this more-than-likely “unemployed, white, angry mid-30’s male with a science background” was just too smart for the 140 member FBI task force, and investigators.
I’m not sure about the rest of the victim’s family members, but for 25 years, I know for me, I thought the guy would eventually confess. Unable to bare the burden of guilt or be on his death bed, he would tell the world he did it. I was fine with waiting. I was convinced the day would come. Of course I missed my mom, but solving this case did not seem like an option…
…Until February 4, 2009.
The case that was “Another anniversary and still unsolved” for 26 years had now had a breakthrough. Investigators were reactivating this cold case. Over and over again, the media played the feed of the FBI invading the extortion writer’s Boston apartment— claiming they finally had something on him. Really? That guy? The man the authorities wrote off from the beginning because he wrote the extortion letter with someone else’s bank account and could not possibly profit from the murders, let alone was 1000 miles away at the time? Why him? Why now? It did not make sense.
Right then, the whole LIE of this story became so obvious. I started reading everything I could to get more from reports and news articles— but because the case was reactivated, all of the documents the government held would stay sealed from the public. How convenient. Well, that explains this reactivated case. Raiding someone’s house— innocent or not– and announcing the breakthrough was all the case needed to get an “active” status and stay sealed.
I found Scott Bartz online. Scott was a Johnson & Johnson-employee-turned-whistleblower and had equitable answers to my questions. He had a different approach to the method of the serial killer. Knowing the distribution chain well, Scott figured out that the only way the killings could make perfect sense was if the “madman” was an employee in the repackaging or distribution channel. All of the retail stores with poisoned bottles ALL came from the same point of distribution! But admission of that truth, meant Johnson & Johnson would be liable for all of the deaths, the Tylenol brand would become extinct, and the general public would realize that this crime could literally happen in ANY food, anytime, by an employee. The safety seal was the perfect “solution” to every consumers worst fear at this point— but selling it to them and getting them to trust it could only work if the crime happened at the retail stores. A safety seal from tamperings happening from WITHIN the factories or warehouses simply sealed it up. Finally an answer after all of these years! Not one bit of evidence ever supported the store shelf theory except for the only fact that people bought Tylenol and they died. That was it. Nothing else. But this was so easy to figure out if you just look into the never-mentioned channel of distribution.
We worked day and night on this thing. Scott was writing a book to uncover the mega-pharmaceutical corporation’s history, web of connections, billions of dollars worth of power and every last bit of information showing the entire Tylenol murders investigation to be rigged. Interviewing, reading, researching as much information as we could to put together the scenario of how this really happened. Days in the library’s newspaper archives, filling out Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) forms in every affected municipality of the murders. I visited every officer, reporter and authority I could get in front of to ask continuous questions about the discovery, only to realize quickly that these findings were not welcomed. We knew Johnson & Johnson held the reason for not wanting the truth out there, but every news station, newspaper, FBI agent? What are they liable for?
The incestuous relationship between J&J and FBI investigators, the head of the FDA, major television networks and newspapers being owned by family of Johnson & Johnson’s CEO, lawyers, judges, Board of Directors members, and Illinois State authorities proved what power and money can control. This story is just one of them.
The death of a 23 year-old woman in New York in 1986 proved beyond any doubt that the Tylenol poisonings were happening BEFORE it made it to the store shelves. The woman was poisoned to death by cyanide-loaded Tylenol that came from a triple-sealed bottle. Another un-purchased, unopened, tamper-resistant bottle was found with several tainted capsules. This story got as little publicity as possible to avoid the exposure of the incriminating facts.
This finding just fueled me more to get the word out about all that I had learned. How can one of the biggest unsolved crimes of the century happen— then again 4 years later and they get away with this? In 2011, Bartz released his self-published book, The Tylenol Mafia: Marketing, Murder and Johnson & Johnson. Within three months it hit 10,000 downloads/sales; #1 out of 1.3 million books on Amazon in Law, Ethics and Professional Responsibility; #1 under 20th Century US History; and #3 under History. How exciting! The media was claiming the book “had no merit” with no explanation of why, but seems the people were interested in the authors free downloads.
Scott and I were guests on several radio shows and alternative news media outlets. The interest from the public was fantastic, but reading a 500+ page book of highly-researched detail was quite a commitment. The awareness of the true crime was slowly getting out there, but not enough to insist the documents become open to the public.
We have the right to know the real story. Parts of the story still remain hidden from the public without reason.