Chloroform Murders/Abductions

Mullins

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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.
 

shadowangel

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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.
 

Mullins

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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.


shadowangel said:
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.
 

shadowangel

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Mullins said:
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.
 

docwho3

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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/0750930985/ref=ase_thestratmanns/102-0546180-0496948?s=books&v=glance&n=283155&tagActionCode=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/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=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/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9005805&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/duluthsuperior/news/local/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.
 

shadowangel

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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.
 

mjak

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Mullins said:
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... :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

mjak
 

Boatswain'sMate

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mjak said:
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... :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

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

concernedperson

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

docwho3

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mjak said:
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... :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

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.
 

mjak

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docwho3 said:
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
 

docwho3

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mjak said:
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.
 

Boatswain'sMate

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docwho3 said:
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.
 

docwho3

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Boatswain'sMate said:
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.
 

Mullins

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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.:innocent: You gave me a chuckle though.

mjak said:
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... :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

mjak
 

Mullins

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I did read that too, and I guess that is what piqued my curiosity as to whether someone very familiar with fume intoxication would be more apt to use it for abduction purposes in the opinions of you guys. Thanks for the feedback.

concernedperson said:
It was also used in early years as an aid for childbirth. It apparently knocks you out pretty good.
 

Mullins

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I know that it was more popular in the movies than in real life from what I've read. BUt the fact that it evaporates quickly is good to know for my purposes--whiich are of course in the best concern of mankind.:rolleyes:

PS Shadow, why'd you change your Mandolin Rain lyric? It was kinda nice...


shadowangel said:
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.
 

Mullins

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This is exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate your finding it so much. I truly wish I had more time to devote to research.

And, by the way I am making a brave yet trepid attempt to write a book. It's in the very early stages...it's time consuming when you work full time and have a family.....

docwho3 said:
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/0750930985/ref=ase_thestratmanns/102-0546180-0496948?s=books&v=glance&n=283155&tagActionCode=thestratmanns

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/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=460&invol=276

Fatal chloroform poisoning with subsequent crime
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9005805&dopt=Abstract

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10301518/

http://wcco.com/crimelinks/?b_start=10
http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/local/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.
 

Boatswain'sMate

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Mullins said:
This is exactly what I was looking for. I appreciate your finding it so much. I truly wish I had more time to devote to research.

And, by the way I am making a brave yet trepid attempt to write a book. It's in the very early stages...it's time consuming when you work full time and have a family.....

Good for you! That's fantastic.
 

strach304

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Thought I'd add my thoughts since I have a bottle of each and was wondering myself about the reasons for the questions :waitasec:

I was actually told by doctors to use nail polish remover for the glue on my skin from surgical tape, after checking my bottle mine is 100% acetone which carries a warning about causing vapor gases and cause dizziness, headaches, etc. Could that be what was causing the trouble in the ER?

On to the paint thinner; what I have is called Klean Strip, supposed to be better than paint thinner but contains the warnings of buildup vapors causing dizziness, headaches, etc. is fatal if swallowed.

Truth is there have been predators that have attacked using mace or pepper spray as well as the ones told about using chloroform and I read the articles posted about hollywood exaggerating on the chlorofrom some time ago at CTV I think, in the crime library but if you think about it logically if a rag is soaked in this stuff right before you grab the victim, now this rag is also covering the mouth and nose in most depictions and the victim is grabbed from behind, how long should it take? Thing is hollywood speeds it up because every minute is money and that's all but in reality it won't take long for that person to pass out and not be able to struggle. It only takes 2 minutes to strangle a person to death so maybe after one minute, imo that's still quick especially if your mouth and nose are covered and you can't scream either.

As for the huffing paint and glue stuff I grew up with many teenagers that did this in excess and watched them burn up their brain cells, to be truthful I watched the effects a lot and they hallucinate, are totally out of it but as a matter of fact there are a lot of household chemicals that will produce this effect. This kind of abuse of one's brain imo is the most dangerous and I see similarities with this and meth. These people are dangerous, one who had been a life long friend blew his wife's head off with a shotgun by the time he was 19, he was one of the biggest abusers of the huffing paint era.

Someone that can't be around any kind of fumes from household cleaners, bug spray, bleach, ammonia, oven cleaners, hair dye and perms, etc. because of medical reasons might be more knowledge about the potency of this stuff too besides an abuser. I don't think in an abduction type scenario the abductor would have to have a tolerance built up anyway because of it taking place in an open area so they aren't inhaling the fumes up close through the nose and mouth like the victim wherein it would be more like odor to them but fumes being inhaled to the victim. Any form of cutting off oxygen to the brain even without the use of chemicals will result in unconscienceness.
 
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