In 1982, Chicago’s residents were dropping dead in record numbers. The nation was swept in fear wondering what the cause was or who would die next. An investigation raced to find answers and determined that each victim had taken Tylenol before their death. Law enforcement learned that cyanide-laced Tylenol had been placed on store shelves to kill random victims, but could not find out why for decades.
In “Unsealed: The Tylenol Murders,” The Chicago Tribune‘s reporters Christy Gutowski and Stacy St. Clair investigate this infamously unsolved case and learn new clues. They hopped on the investigation when they received an unexpected phone call in January 2022. Stream this series from episode 1 to hear the full story going back to the 1980s and sharing recent developments.
St. Clair and Gutowski pieced together information seemingly lurking in plain sight. A week after the killings, a bar owner made a phone call after no luck was had with identifying suspects. After a nationwide manhunt, a Kansas City police sergeant learned info about who they suspected wrote the extortion letter. He headed to Chicago and brought new info about their suspect to comb through with the Tylenol Task Force and discussed a different man who went missing a few years before the Tylenol murders.
In 1978, Kansas City police identified James Lewis as a prime suspect for a missing person’s case and made a grave mistake during the interrogation – an error that would loom in the following years. While no one was charged with the Tylenol murders, Lewis was sent to prison for the extortion letter. The FBI received a message and Lewis was willing to offer what he knew to solve the crime.
We learn how the 2 main suspects spent their post-prison time, but both were swept into the Tylenol murders investigation. One had died, and the other was zeroed in on during an FBI undercover operation. Updates in the case occurred when law enforcement and The Tribune met with the top suspect, detailing the evidence they have against Lewis and what they’re still missing.
“Unsealed: The Tylenol Murders” is presented by AT WILL MEDIA and The Chicago Tribune. 8 bingeable episodes are now streaming wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.