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  1. #1
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    Chloroform Murders/Abductions

    Does anyone know information regarding chloroform used in abductions/murders? I have done some research but the brilliant minds here could add so much I'm sure. Some of my main questions are:
    How is chloroform made? How is it detected as used in a crime? What affects would show up in an autopsy report? Can material which held chloroform years ago be analyzed for it presently? And, of course, please post any interesting crimes you know of that involved the use of chloroform.

  2. #2
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    Here's a few basics....(some from memory, some research):

    Chloroform, a colorless liquid with a somewhat pungent odor, was first produced in 1831 by chemists through the action of chlorine (bleach, or calcium hypochlorite) upon acetone. Yes, that means you could cook up your own version in the basement with bleach and nail polish remover, but I really don't recommend it!
    In 1847 chloroform came into surgical use as an anesthetic during childbirths. It replaced ether for a time, until the 20th century when it was abandoned due to its propensity to cause sudden cardiac arrythmia.
    Its primary use today is in the production of freon refrigerant (R-22) found in air conditioning systems.
    Intial exposure to chloroform can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue (as an anesthetic, chloroform depresses the central nervous system). Prolonged exposure can cause liver and kidney damage (in the liver, chloroform is metabolized into phosgene, a toxic gas; in this, I assume it would appear in the system much as digested rat poison does-metabolized phosporous).

    The Hollywood version of chloroform usage, in which the villain dispenses a few drops into a rag and quickly subdues the victim, is greatly exaggerated. The amount necessary to "knock someone out" would, most likely, be deadly. However, the common misunderstandings and incorrect concepts about chloroform have seen it play prominent roles in several high-profile rape and murder cases (hey, I'm not doing all the work for you!)
    For more information, I would recommend the book Chloroform-the quest for oblivion by Linda Strattman (I believe). The book should be available through Amazon.com.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Shadowangel. I appreciate your info and will try to get ahold of that book.

    I am going to ramble now so tune me out if need be. I'm thinking out loud. If someone was into heavy glue sniffing and was a painter by trade, could chloroform potentially be a method for them to "get high?" Do you know if paint thinner consists of acetone? I believe it does....but what do I know? Also, if this person had at various/numerous times experienced the "high" associated with chloroform (assuming there is one) would that make them more adept at utilizing chloroform to abduct/rape? Any theory/opinion welcome.


    Quote Originally Posted by shadowangel
    Here's a few basics....(some from memory, some research):

    Chloroform, a colorless liquid with a somewhat pungent odor, was first produced in 1831 by chemists through the action of chlorine (bleach, or calcium hypochlorite) upon acetone. Yes, that means you could cook up your own version in the basement with bleach and nail polish remover, but I really don't recommend it!
    In 1847 chloroform came into surgical use as an anesthetic during childbirths. It replaced ether for a time, until the 20th century when it was abandoned due to its propensity to cause sudden cardiac arrythmia.
    Its primary use today is in the production of freon refrigerant (R-22) found in air conditioning systems.
    Intial exposure to chloroform can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue (as an anesthetic, chloroform depresses the central nervous system). Prolonged exposure can cause liver and kidney damage (in the liver, chloroform is metabolized into phosgene, a toxic gas; in this, I assume it would appear in the system much as digested rat poison does-metabolized phosporous).

    The Hollywood version of chloroform usage, in which the villain dispenses a few drops into a rag and quickly subdues the victim, is greatly exaggerated. The amount necessary to "knock someone out" would, most likely, be deadly. However, the common misunderstandings and incorrect concepts about chloroform have seen it play prominent roles in several high-profile rape and murder cases (hey, I'm not doing all the work for you!)
    For more information, I would recommend the book Chloroform-the quest for oblivion by Linda Strattman (I believe). The book should be available through Amazon.com.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mullins
    Thanks Shadowangel. I appreciate your info and will try to get ahold of that book.

    I am going to ramble now so tune me out if need be. I'm thinking out loud. If someone was into heavy glue sniffing and was a painter by trade, could chloroform potentially be a method for them to "get high?" Do you know if paint thinner consists of acetone? I believe it does....but what do I know? Also, if this person had at various/numerous times experienced the "high" associated with chloroform (assuming there is one) would that make them more adept at utilizing chloroform to abduct/rape? Any theory/opinion welcome.
    Acetone was popular as a paint thinner, and still is in industrial applications, but has commonly been replaced in household use by mineral spirits (more user-friendly). Acetone is most commonly used today as nail-polish remover, but even in that use is being replaced by "natural" thinners.
    I've never heard of chloroform being used to "get high" but that certainly doesn't mean someone hasn't tried it. If someone were using chloroform for some purpose regularly, it follows they would become knowledgable as to its administration for the stated purposes. Methyl chloroform is commonly used to degrease metal, a usage someone who paints for a living may be familar with.

  5. #5
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    info

    Chloroform can be inadvertently produced when cleaning around the house. The action of sodium hypochlorite solution (bleach) upon acetone / propan-2-one (nail-varnish remover) produces chloroform, sodium hydroxide, sodium ethanoate (acetate), and sodium chloride. There have been reported cases of this method being used in the UK to synthesise chloroform in the home.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroform
    Also I wonder how many times people say chloroform when they mean ether or some other substance used to incapacitate a victem.
    Ether info
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethyl_ether

    a few anesthetics:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Anesthetics

    The book someone mentioned about chloroform used which is said to contain some true crime examples of uses can be found:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/075...=thestratmanns

    Peter Vikesland, an environmental chemist at Virginia Tech, discovered that in some cases, the chlorine in water interacted with triclosan, an antibacterial agent in some soaps, to produce chloroform. Though the conditions for this happening were experimental the amount of both chemicals and the acidity and temperature of the water were all controlled factors in the reaction the possibility existed that they could be replicated in a normal household kitchen sink.
    http://www.stats.org/record.jsp?type=news&ID=500


    Although I found a few entries of chloroform and crime using a search engine:
    Gacy used it according to this article
    http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial/gacy/gacymain.htm

    "... reason to believe that one Armstrong was purchasing chloroform to be used in the manufacture of illicit drugs ... "
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/script...=460&invol=276

    Fatal chloroform poisoning with subsequent crime
    Criminal poisoning using chloroform to commit another crime has been published infrequently. A case of a 52-year-old robbery victim is reported. The man was found dead in a park with a yellow duster in a very close position to his nose and mouth. Autopsy revealed no serious pathological findings to explain the death. Because of the suspected violent application of a volatile compound and to avoid a loss of tissue concentration the samples for toxicological investigations were taken at the very beginning of the autopsy. The detailed results showed that a chloroform poisoning has been the only cause of death.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract

    Weiss: He poured Chloroform on a cloth, put it over her face, and overpowered her. She was rendered pretty much unconscious immediately.
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10301518/

    In 1981, Diana Smith and Scott Jones were forced to inhale chloroform and were murdered. . .
    http://wcco.com/crimelinks/?b_start=10
    http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/du...l/13231306.htm

    All these entries were the results of one simple web search using the combined search term, "Chloroform" and "crime", so I believe there is probably lots more info out there to be found on the subject.

  6. #6
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    From what I have read, those criminals who have attempted to use chloroform to subdue victims usually wind up killing them instead. It has been popular in the past to blame chloroform for robberies and other crimes which occur under circumstances the victim would rather not explain ("someone put a rag over my face and knocked me out, I don't remember what happened next").

    Chloroform evaporates rapidly, so a chemical analysis would be necessary to determine any presence on cloth or other material. Except in cases of extreme poisoning, chloroform can be difficult to detect in the human system due to the fact that it breaks down and is metabolized into other compounds.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mullins
    Does anyone know information regarding chloroform used in abductions/murders? I have done some research but the brilliant minds here could add so much I'm sure. Some of my main questions are:
    How is chloroform made? How is it detected as used in a crime? What affects would show up in an autopsy report? Can material which held chloroform years ago be analyzed for it presently? And, of course, please post any interesting crimes you know of that involved the use of chloroform.
    Um... well okay Mullins. when I first read this post I was a bit worried, lol.
    Not sure exactly why you wanted this information, lol. I am hoping you are researching a crime involving chloroform and not trying to figure out how to use it for something...

    mjak

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjak
    Um... well okay Mullins. when I first read this post I was a bit worried, lol.
    Not sure exactly why you wanted this information, lol. I am hoping you are researching a crime involving chloroform and not trying to figure out how to use it for something...

    mjak
    That was my reaction, too! Hope you're writing a book or something, Mullins.

  9. #9
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    It was also used in early years as an aid for childbirth. It apparently knocks you out pretty good.

  10. #10
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    possible misuse of info

    Quote Originally Posted by mjak
    Um... well okay Mullins. when I first read this post I was a bit worried, lol.
    Not sure exactly why you wanted this information, lol. I am hoping you are researching a crime involving chloroform and not trying to figure out how to use it for something...

    mjak
    I thought of that before I posted my answer but all that info is easily and publicly available in the internet by several free search engines as I said, so anyone determined to misuse the info could easily get the info without our help anyway. If it had been some specialized info that was not publicly available I would not have posted it.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by docwho3
    I thought of that before I posted my answer but all that info is easily and publicly available in the internet by several free search engines as I said, so anyone determined to misuse the info could easily get the info without our help anyway. If it had been some specialized info that was not publicly available I would not have posted it.
    lol. I know this stuff is very easily availale online and your local library.
    I didn't think anyone posted anything that someone could't get to use inappropriatly if they wanted to, lol. Plus I have read other responses, posts by Mullins and have no reason to think anything disconcerning, lol. I was only posting my first reaction because I thought it was funny. I did not mean to upset you, sorry.

    mjak

  12. #12
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    smiles

    Quote Originally Posted by mjak
    lol. I know this stuff is very easily availale online and your local library.
    I didn't think anyone posted anything that someone could't get to use inappropriatly if they wanted to, lol. Plus I have read other responses, posts by Mullins and have no reason to think anything disconcerning, lol. I was only posting my first reaction because I thought it was funny. I did not mean to upset you, sorry.

    mjak
    It was funny
    You didn't upset me a bit but joking or not, you raised a valid point which we should always be concerned about and I thought of others reading who might wonder about it too so I responded for their sake.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by docwho3
    It was funny
    You didn't upset me a bit but joking or not, you raised a valid point which we should always be concerned about and I thought of others reading who might wonder about it too so I responded for their sake.
    Look at it this way, if a case comes up where there's an unexplained death in a house being refurbished by a glue-sniffing painter, we'll have a leg up on the solution.

  14. #14
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    true

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatswain'sMate
    Look at it this way, if a case comes up where there's an unexplained death in a house being refurbished by a glue-sniffing painter, we'll have a leg up on the solution.
    LOL - True.

    Actually one thing that interest me was the info about some antibacterial soaps interacting with things to causing chloroform to be made. I remember some hospitals having unexplained instances of staff feeling faint in ER's and I wondered if someone cleaned up a spot on a patient or had washed hands in the bathroom and the antibacterial stuff reacted and created another chemical such as chloroform.

  15. #15
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    Don't Worry

    I appreciate your concern mjak. I had done a quick preliminary search as well before my post so I knew the info on how to concoct chloroform was "common knowledge" if anyone cared enough to use it for evil intent. However, I am using it for research purposes only. You gave me a chuckle though.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjak
    Um... well okay Mullins. when I first read this post I was a bit worried, lol.
    Not sure exactly why you wanted this information, lol. I am hoping you are researching a crime involving chloroform and not trying to figure out how to use it for something...

    mjak

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