FBI reviewing evidence in 1982 Tylenol deaths

February 4, 2009 9:30:46 PM PST
Investigators say James Lewis has not been charged with any crime, he is not in custody and was not there during the search but his wife was. FBI investigators are also searching a warehouse in Somerville, Massachusetts that they suspect could have been used as a lab or storage area.

Watch Chuck Goudies' 1992 interview with James Lewis from ABC7's archives.
Watch video from the ABC7 archives with James Lewis on the Tylenol deaths.

On Wednesday night, FBI agents and Illinois State Police say they have removed five boxes covered in evidence tape from inside the condo where 62-year-old James Lewis is living. Investigators say they also removed a newer model apple computer. Lewis moved to the condo complex when he was released in 1995 after spending 12 years prison for an extortion conviction.

The FBI says news coverage of the 25th anniversary two years ago prompted a number of tips and investigators say given the many recent advances in forensic technology it was only natural that a second look be taken at the case and recovered evidence.

Lewis was arrested following a nationwide manhunt and charged with extortion for sending a letter to the makers of Tylenol, Johnson and Johnson, demanding a million dollars to stop the killings. Back in 1992, Chuck Goudie talked with him at an Oklahoma prison and at that time he maintained he never killed anyone.

"Tylenol murderer is still out dancing in the streets of this country and the prosecutors in Chicago could care less," said Lewis in 1992.

Dan Webb was the US attorney prosecuting the case. On Wednesday night, he says these latest developments are a good sign.

"That means they have current, live information that evidence of a crime, and I'm presuming the Tylenol murders, but Ii don't know, is housed at that location and that's at least someone who is very much involved 27 years ago. The fact they have current information at least is encouraging to me," said Webb.

Lewis who owns a web company called Cyberlewis says he has been misunderstood and proclaims himself the Tylenol man.

"They enjoy twisting and contorting what I say into something ominous. That, my friends is the curse of being labeled the Tylenol man," said Lewis.

Authorities are trying to notify relatives of victims about Wednesday's developments.

On Wednesday night, ABC7 spoke to the brother of Mary McFarland who was from Elmhurst. McFarland was 31 years old when she died in 1982.

"I don't think the F.B.I. Is releasing a whole lot of information at this point but it's really reassuring that something is happening, and it sounds like something positive is happening," said Jack Eliason, brother of McFarland.

The other victims ranged in age from 12 to 35.


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