Nightmare Fuel — The Man Who Killed Halloween

Hello Addicts,

This episode’s Nightmare Fuel comes from the state of Texas.  As a child, I loved Halloween for the trick or treating, especially for the candy we got.  The one bad thing I remember from that time was not getting to taste any of it until my parents checked them for fear of poison or razor blades being hidden in the goodies.  I didn’t really question it then, but in later years, I was curious about where and when that problem ever occurred or began.  A documentary on urban legends gave me a probable answer involving a 1974 murder case involving Pixy Stix.

Eight year old Timothy O’Bryan was out Trick or Treating with his father, sister, and two neighbor children in their Deer Park, TX neighborhood.  They waited at the front door of a house eager for the candy goodies, but they moved on when no one answered the door.  Timothy’s father remained at the house with in the hopes of still getting candy from the resident for his children.  He eventually joined his kids a house or two later with five Pixy Stix grasped in his hand, and gave each child one.  Later in the evening, Timothy wanted some of his candy before going to bed, so he opened the Pixy Stix and his father helped him get the flavored sugar when it didn’t want to come out right away.  Shortly after that, the boy complained about stomach pains and began vomiting.  Young Timothy died on the way to the hospital.

Toxicology tests showed that the cause of death was potassium cyanide poisoning.  When police tested the other four Pixy Stix straws, they discovered them sliced open, the poison added, and then stapled shut.  For the longest time, the police focused in trying to find the house the dead boy’s father, Ronald Clark O’Bryan claimed to have gotten then tainted candy from.  When they found the house and ruled the homeowner out as a suspect, the police began to focus on the father.  Police soon found out that Ronald had taken extra insurance policies out on his children just before Halloween and was majorly in debt at the time.  The surmised murder plot involved the deaths of all the children given the poisoned candy with Ronald’s son and daughter being the intended victims and the other children as a way to cover his tracks.

Ronald Clark O’Bryan was convicted and sentenced to death, but maintained his innocence until the day he died.  His execution came via lethal injection on March 31, 1984.  During his trial, Ronald was dubbed by the media as “The Candyman”, but others still refer to him as “The Man Who Killed Halloween”.

Until next time, Addicts.  Pleasant dreams.

D.J. Pitsiladis

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