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Season 3, Episode 37: Chicago True Crime: The Pain Killer

Season #3

Every time you open a bottle of medicine or a package of food that has a security seal, you probably don’t realize that it’s there because of a string of murders in the Chicago area in 1982. Seven people died after taking tainted pain medicine which gave the case its name - The Tylenol Murders. Officially, the case is still unsolved. Unofficially, we are going to look at a man who was arguably the prime suspect and talk to someone who knew him.

Our book this week is The Pain Killer: Finding Meaning After Murder and our guest is its author, Greg Hoover. Greg has worked as an actor, writer, therapist, and Episcopal priest. Greg loves the outdoors, hiking, traveling, and playing guitar. 

I think that it’s natural for us to look at John Price, or whoever the Pain Killer is, and to say to ourselves that they are just evil. They are terrible, awful creatures who barely deserve to be called human. They are nothing like…us. We may not have poisoned 7 people, but before we ride off on our moral high horses, let’s read Psalm 14 verses 1-3:

Fools say to themselves, “There is no God!” They are all corrupt, and they have done terrible things; there is no one who does what is right.

The Lord looks down from heaven at us humans to see if there are any who are wise,

any who worship him.

But they have all gone wrong; they are all equally bad.

Not one of them does what is right, not a single one.

That lesson is so hard for us to hear and accept, but it’s important enough that Paul quoted it in Romans chapter 3. We all make choices that are contrary to the will of God. Some have more obvious consequences than others maybe, but we all fall short.

I don’t say any of that to condemn anyone, but to encourage us to grow in humility. When we do that, I think it’s so much easier to serve others who need us joyfully. I hope you’ll find someone this week to be that person that Greg and I called a trusted advisor. You can sit with them in their pain and listen. Let them talk, let them cry, and just be there. No need to fix their situation. Leave it to God to bring whatever good out of their situation that He will. That’s a great way to be a person of impact

Please visit my website to access more episodes, read my blog posts, or check out ways you can financially support the podcast so that together we can impact more people, more families, and more communities. If you would like to contact me about booking me as a speaker, or ask about my consulting and investigative services, please email me at [email protected]

If you liked hearing from someone close to a case, you’ll enjoy my episodes with former police detective Mike McCarty as he and I discuss the 1977 Hollandsburg massacre near where we each grew up. Mike’s dad was one of the investigators on the case which left Mike with questions he had to find answers to. Listen to Part One and Part Two of “Choking in Fear”.


Link to buy The Pain Killer (which might earn me a small commission - fyi)

Read more about The Tylenol Murders here