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Episode 12 // The Tylenol Murders: Over-The-Counter Killers

From journalist Amber Hunt and the Obsessed Network

James W. Lewis

When 52-year-old Bruce Nickell suddenly dropped dead in Washington state, investigators at first thought he'd died of a heart attack. But then a second person collapsed, and police realized that the two victims had both taken the painkiller Excedrin. Suddenly, they realized they were dealing with a copycat of a case that had haunted federal investigators for nearly 15 years.

In that earlier case, seven people died when someone randomly tampered with the over-the-counter painkiller to replace some of the powder inside capsules with enough cyanide to kill an entire family. Those deaths changed how medication is packaged nationwide and made it a federal crime to tamper with such products -- a legal change that years later came back to bite Nickell's killer.


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