SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The FBI in Chicago confirmed Thursday that it was seeking DNA samples from Unabomber Ted Kaczynski in connection with the 1982 Tylenol poisonings that killed seven people there, but said it was investigating other possible suspects as well.
"As part of our reexamination 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, after McClatchy Newspapers first reported the development.
"To date, Mr. Kaczynski has declined to voluntarily provide this sample," the statement said. "The investigation into the Tylenol murders remains ongoing. No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed."
Special Agent Royden Rice said that other suspects were being looked at as well, but he did not elaborate.
Kaczynski has been in custody since 1996, when he was arrested at his remote one-room cabin in the Montana woods. Rice said the FBI has had samples of Kaczynski's DNA for some time. However, he said, 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 approached three weeks ago at the "supermax" prison in Colorado, where he is serving a life sentence for his 18-year bombing campaign that killed three people and injured 23.
Prison officials told him the FBI wanted the sample, but Kaczynski said in court papers filed last week that he wanted time to think about it.
Kaczynski said in the handwritten court papers that he had never possessed potassium cyanide, which was found in the Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules that killed seven people in the fall of 1982. He added that he did not want to provide his DNA voluntarily unless officials refrained from auctioning 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.