CHICAGO (TBEN) — Important developments came to light Thursday in the 40-year-old investigation into the Tylenol murders in the Chicago area.
We learned on Thursday that investigators went to Boston this week to re-interrogate the man believed to be a suspect in the seven deaths.
James Lewis was never charged with the murders, but he was convicted of extorting $1 million from Johnson & Johnson in the days after the cyanide-laced pills hit store shelves.
The TBEN 2 detectives began to re-investigate the case in April. As TBEN 2 investigator Brad Edwards reported, we also went to Boston last month to try and track down Lewis.
We did indeed find Lewis, in the same Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment that he moved in after he was released from prison.
In 1982, seven people died in the Chicago area after ingesting Tylenol mixed with cyanide. Next week will be 40 years since that event that terrified the city and the country.
Shortly after, a man wrote an extortion letter to Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, the maker of Tylenol, demanding $1 million to stop the murders.
The man who wrote that letter was James Lewis. He would later spend a dozen years in prison for the attempted racketeering.
Forty years later, Lewis remains a person of interest in the actual murders. He is really the only living known person of interest.
When we went looking for him last month, he hadn’t been seen or heard from for over ten years.
We went to Lewis’s apartment outside of Boston. We knew it was him – and he’s a man with a long history of not being honest.
Two weeks ago, we showed our entire exchange with Lewis to the Arlington Heights Police Department, Sgt. Joe Murphy. At the end, the Arlington Heights police asked for a copy of it.
Sergeant Murphy is the default head of a task force investigating the murders, including numerous agencies, the Illinois State Police and the FBI. He was unable to comment on Thursday, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
However, TBEN 2 was able to confirm that individuals investigating the Tylenol murders had been in Boston for the past few days — furthering the investigative effort, which included interviewing Lewis.
Sources at the FBI released this statement:
“No interviews have been allowed recently about the Tylenol murders in 1982. All opinions of former employees are their own alone and do not constitute official statements attributable to the FBI. The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of the American justice system , and the Justice Department’s standard policy prohibits the FBI and its employees from expressing their opinion about the guilt of a private individual except as necessary based on legal proceedings.The Justice Department’s policy also prevents the FBI from commenting on the nature of pending investigations. will have to refer you to the Arlington Heights Police Department as the lead investigative agency.”
Over the past six months, we’ve interviewed dozens of people related to the case – from former police officers to aid workers and relatives of some of the victims.
We’ll be sharing their stories in a multi-part docuseries later this fall.