FBI confirms probe of Unabomber, others in 1982 Tylenol deaths

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The FBI in Chicago confirmed Thursday that it is seeking DNA samples from Unabomber Ted Kaczynski in connection with the 1982 Tylenol poisonings that killed seven people there, but said it is investigating other possible suspects as well.

“As part of our re-examination of the evidence developed in connection with the 1982 Tylenol poisonings, we have attempted to secure DNA samples from numerous individuals, including Ted Kaczynski,” the agency said in a statement issued Thursday morning, after McClatchy Newspapers first reported the development. “To date, Mr. Kaczynski has declined to voluntarily provide this sample.

“The investigation into the Tylenol murders remains ongoing. No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.”

Special Agent Royden “Ross” Rice said by telephone that other suspects are being looked at as well, but would not elaborate.

Kaczynski has been in custody since 1996, when he was arrested at his remote one-room cabin in the Montana woods, and Rice said the FBI has had samples of Kaczynski’s DNA for some time. However, he added that agents are seeking new samples because of advancements in testing and processing.

“DNA technology has grown in exponential terms, and to do a conclusive test we need new samples,” he said.

Kaczynski was first approached three weeks ago at the “supermax” prison in Florence, Colo., where he is serving life for his 18-year bombing campaign that killed three people and injured 23 others.

Prison officials told him the FBI wanted the sample, but Kaczynski said in court papers filed in federal court in Sacramento last week that he told them he wanted time to think about it.

Kaczynski said in the hand-written court papers that he has never possessed potassium cyanide, which was found in the Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules that killed seven in the fall of 1982.

He added that he did not want to provide his DNA voluntarily unless officials decided to refrain from auctioning off materials of his that would pinpoint his whereabouts in 1982.

Federal officials took no action on that request, and a government online auction of his belongings began Wednesday to raise money to partially satisfy a court order that he pay $15 million to his victims.

Kaczynski said he was told the FBI may seek a court order to obtain fresh DNA samples.

The auction, which is scheduled to go until at least June 2, includes personal belongings found in his cabin. The most popular items so far are the handwritten version of his “manifesto,” which had a bid of more than $13,000 Thursday, and his hoodie and sunglasses, which had a bid of more than $5,000. His Smith-Corona typewriter also was bid to more than $5,000 Thursday.

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The Associated Press