CHICAGO (TUSEN) — Significant developments surfaced Thursday in the 40-year investigation into the Tylenol murders in the Chicago area.
TUSEN 2 Chicago learned that investigators traveled to the Boston area this week to re-interview 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 TUSEN 2 detectives began to re-investigate the case in April; reporter Brad Edwards traveled to Massachusetts last month to try to track down Lewis. He lived in the same Cambridge apartment he moved in after being released from prison.
, seven people in the greater Chicago area died after taking 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 truly the only living known person of interest and hadn’t been seen or heard from in over a decade.
In early September, TUSEN Chicago showed their entire exchange with Lewis to Arlington Heights Police 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, TUSEN Chicago was able to confirm that individuals investigating the Tylenol murders had been in the Boston area for the past few days — furthering the investigation 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.”