Tylenol Trail Goes Cold

Raid six months ago but no arrest

By Steve Rhodes
|  Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009  |  Updated 3:30 PM CDT
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Tylenol Trail Goes Cold

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It seemed like the 27-year-old case of the Tylenol murders might finally be solved when FBI agents conducted a raid six months ago of a James Lewis's Cambridge, Mass., apartment.

But as the Daily Herald reports today, six months have come and gone and an arrest has yet to be made.

Many investigators remain convinced he's the killer, even though they've so far been unable to prove it and Lewis has maintained his innocence, the DH notes.

"Today, Lewis - who has always been the prime suspect - remains a free man. Some of the items confiscated in the raid have been returned to him," FBI spokesman Ross Rice said.

Does it mean the investigation has gone cold again?

FBI spokesman Ed Rossbach warned against drawing that conclusion, saying the length of time that's passed is no indication that the investigation has stalled.

("Of course the investigation hasn't stalled, it's only been 27 years!" one Daily Herald commenter says.)

At the time of the raid on Lewis's home, the FBI said that "recent advances in forensic technology" had led to a re-examination of the evidence.

Though Lewis was never charged with the murders, he did serve 12 years in prison for extortion after demanding $1 million in a note to Johnson & Johnson big wigs in order to "stop the kiling."

But the murders themselves remain open.

"If investigators are to solve the murders, they will have to reverse momentum on a case that cast its shadow over three decades and involved more than 100 investigators, more than 6,500 leads, 400 possible suspects, some 20,000 pages of reports, no crime scene and no motive," the Tribune wrote six months ago on the occasion of the Lewis raid. "The task force had all but disbanded."

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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