Razor blades in apples and poisoned Halloween candy was nothing more than an urban legend until one tragic night in a quiet Texas neighborhood. It was Halloween of 1974 and eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan joyfully picked out a piece of candy from his Halloween bounty and fell ill almost immediately and was dead within an hour of consuming it.   

The O’Bryan Family Of Deer Park, Texas


Ronald O'Bryan lived in Deer Park, Texas with his wife Daynene and their two children, son Timothy and their daughter Elizabeth. He worked as an optician at Texas State Optical Company, but was in severe financial debt, which he discussed openly with friends and family members.

Despite his financial hardships, somehow O'Bryan was able to increase the life insurance policies on both of his children in mid-October of 1974. Both children had policies worth $30,000 dollars each, while he and his wife had much smaller policies.

Halloween Night, 1974


On October 31, 1974, Ronald O'Bryan took Timothy and Elizabeth trick-or-treating with the Bates family, whom they had dinner with earlier. The Melvin’s house was dark and ignored the enthusiastic knocks of the excited trick-or-treaters, so they ran off while O’Bryan hung back a little. He soon caught up to the group and handed out five 21-inch Pixy Stix, making it appear as if the seemingly empty house was simply slow to answer.

O’Bryan Distributed The Mysterious Pixy Styx To Five Children


He gave two to the neighbor’s children and one to each of his own, the extra stick he handed off to a random trick-or-treater on the street. Eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan was the only one who tried the giant sugar stick, he complained that it tasted bitter and O’Bryan gave him Kool-Aid to help wash it down. Timothy began vomiting and convulsing almost immediately.

Tragically, Timothy Died An Hour After Consuming The Candy

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O’Bryan called an ambulance but Timothy died within an hour of consuming the candy. An examination of Timothy's body revealed his Halloween candy was laced with potassium cyanide. With just a small amount of candy, he’d consumed well above the fatal dose.

O'Bryan Started Looking Guilty Really Fast

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Police became suspicious of O’Bryan pretty quickly. He claimed the poisoned candy came from the Melvin home, but Mr. Melvin was out all night working. Then O’Bryan claimed he couldn’t remember which house they had come from. Police questioned everyone, no one gave out or received Pixy Styx in the neighborhood, except for the five children O’Bryan handed them out too. Thankfully no one else ate them.

Trail Of Cyanide


Police also discovered O’Bryan tried to obtain cyanide at his place of work, but was unsuccessful back in August of that year. He also allegedly called a friend in September to discuss the varieties cyanide and what’s available. O'Bryan then went into a chemical outlet in Houston, but the company only had cyanide in large quantities, the salesperson remembered O’Bryan asking where he could get a smaller amount.

O’Bryan Plead ‘Not Guilty’ But The Public Branded Him 'The Candyman'


O’Bryan’s multiple attempts to purchase cyanide paired with the increase in his children’s insurance policies secured his fate and branded him “The Candy Man.” Police were never able to prove when or where O'Bryan actually bought the poison, but they were able to prove his intent on acquiring it. He was arrested on November 5, 1974 and was indicted for one count of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder.

Testimonies Revealed How Long O’Bryan Had Been Planning This Horrific Crime


On May 5, 1975 O’Bryan entered a plea of not guilty to all five counts and maintained his innocence throughout the whole trial. During the trial, it was revealed that O'Bryan had been asking around about cyanide as early as the summer of 1973—this monster had been planning to murder his own children for quite some time.

Friends and co-workers all testified that in the months leading up to Halloween showed an "unusual interest" in how much it would take to kill someone with cyanide. O'Bryan's sister-in-law and brother-in-law both testified that he actually had the audacity to say he was thinking about using Timothy’s insurance money to go on a long vacation.

O’Bryan Was Found Guilty And Sentenced To Death


It only took the jury 45 minutes on June 3, 1975, to come back with a guilty verdict. O’Bryan was convicted on one count of capital murder and four counts of attempted murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection.

His wife Daynene filed for divorce and later remarried. Her new husband adopted her daughter Elizabeth. Ronald O'Bryan was executed on March 31, 1984.

Halloween Safety Programs Launched Soon After This Case


Naturally, all the parents in the area panicked and began tossing out all their Halloween candy, but this wasn’t a case of some faceless madman poisoning the town’s children. This was premeditated, isolated incident and little Timothy had been targeted, by his own father.

This was a case that brought the old urban legends about poisoned candy and apples with razor blades to life. Prior to this case, nothing like this had ever happened before. Halloween safety programs were soon launched throughout Pasadena. Parents were taught how to properly inspect candy and many other tips for safe trick-or-treating.