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Ep. 98 & 99 Excedrin Murders

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Part One: "Darlin' Sue"

The Tylenol murders of Chicago in 1981 brought a flurry of change. They inspired a total redesign of medical packaging, to hinder tampering and it spawned the creation of a new anti-tampering federal law. The ripple effect of change went as deep as homes and individuals. Some were so fearful there would be another attack by the uncaptured perpetrator, or perhaps a copycat, they wouldn’t even buy medication in capsule form. Which was why it was so shocking to find Sue Snow, someone who was worried about capsules, in possession of some the morning she collapsed on her bathroom floor. Was this another attack at the hands of the same person from Chicago? Was there someone in the house who wanted Sue dead? Or even worse, was Sue simply a necessary casualty in the eyes of a villainous killer who needed Sue to die for her own benefit? In today's episode, we'll hear the story of Sue Snow, Bruce Nickell, and the Excedrin murders that rocked Washington in the 1980s.

Part Two: "SeaMurs"

Last week, I told you about Bruce Nickell, a man who mysteriously collapsed and died. Then, just a few days later, also in Auburn, Washington, 40-year-old mother, and banker Sue Snow also collapsed and died. When her death was ruled a homicide via cyanide poisoning, her husband Paul was looked at as a suspect and the country was terrified to hear there might be another murderer tampering with capsules. With a nationwide recall, those who had bottles of Excedrin at home were checking the bottles so they could call in if they were in possession of one from the same lot as those Sue Snow had ingested. That was when Stella Nickell, Bruce’s wife, realized they not only had a bottle from that batch, but Bruce had died right after taking a few capsules. So perhaps his death wasn’t caused by emphysema after all.

Excedrin bottle form 1980s, photo from Ebay

Tylenol Murder Victims, photo from The Viking Times
  • Elk Grove Village: Mary Kellerman, 12 (died on September 30)

  • Arlington Heights: Adam Janus, 27 (died the same day) ...

  • Winfield: Mary Reiner, 27 (died on September 30)

  • Elmhurst: Mary McFarland, 35 (died on September 30)

  • Chicago: Paula Prince, 35 (died on October 1)

Stella and Bruce Nickell, photo from

Sue Snow and twin Sister Sarah, photo from Casefile twitter

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