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[00:00:00]

Due to the graphic nature of this killer's crimes, listener discretion is advised this episode includes discussions of poisoning and murder that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under 13.

[00:00:18]

69 year old Rena Cooper lay in a hospital bed at the Ohio State University medical complex machines word and beeped around her, keeping rhythm with her pulse, announcing that she was in a stable condition.

[00:00:31]

After her back surgery that morning, her doctors and the hospital nurses all remarked that Rina was recovering well, so she relaxed when the doctors finished their evening rounds. Now she could just rest peacefully for the night.

[00:00:47]

Rena was surprised when 29 year old Dr. Michael Swango popped his head into the room. In reality, Michael wasn't a doctor quite yet. He was still an intern, but he carried himself with the confidence of a doctor, and that was more than enough to make him seem qualified.

[00:01:04]

As Michael took a syringe out of his pocket and approached her IV, Rena trusted that he was administering her routine pain medicine. Michael carefully watched Rena and the machines tethered to her as he administered a dosage.

[00:01:20]

When he was done, the young intern pocketed the needle and hurried from the room. Rena expected to feel some pain relief as the medication took effect, but instead a strange numbness spread through her body.

[00:01:33]

Suddenly, Rena's muscles seized up and her body thrashed. Her mouth couldn't move, but in her head, she was screaming. She had no idea what was happening. But one thing was certain. Whatever that in turn gave her was intended to kill. Hi, I'm Greg Polson, this is Serial Killers, a podcast original.

[00:02:07]

Every episode we dive into the minds and madness of serial killers. Today, we're taking a look at murderous Dr. Joseph Michael Swango. I'm here with my co-host, Vanessa Richardson. Hi, everyone.

[00:02:19]

You can find episodes of serial killers and all other cast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream serial killers for free on Spotify. Just open the app and type serial killers in the search bar.

[00:02:34]

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Joseph Michael Swango poison patients and co-workers everywhere he went. Today, we'll cover how we conned his way through the country's medical institutions, leaving a trail of bodies behind him.

[00:02:48]

Next time, we'll follow Michael as he runs from his troubled past and poisons more unsuspecting colleagues and patients.

[00:02:56]

We'll also see how his lust for power leads to his downfall. We've got all that and more coming up. Stay with us.

[00:03:08]

Joseph Michael Swango was born into a world of military discipline. His father, Virgil, a World War Two veteran, loved to enforce rules and keep his three sons regimented.

[00:03:19]

Because of this strong military influence, the Swango boys lived sterile and orderly lives. Virgil taught his son Joseph, who went by his middle name, Michael, to march salute and communicate using military commands.

[00:03:35]

In addition to his strict orders, Virgil also became a mean alcoholic. Luckily, Virgil spent most of Michael's childhood and adolescence abroad in both the Korean and Vietnam wars in contrast to his father's brutality.

[00:03:50]

Michael's mother, Muriel, was a dutiful parent and homemaker. She maintained a household routine that kept the family looking presentable and running like clockwork.

[00:04:01]

But though she excelled in some aspects of motherhood, Muriel was not the warmest caregiver. She didn't seem to prioritize emotional support of her children, opting instead for efficiency, according to James B.. Stuart's book on Michael Swango called Blind Eye, when Virgile sister Louise stayed with this Mongo's, she noticed that Muriel barely hugged or kissed her son's.

[00:04:23]

Muriel's parenting style was hardly unorthodox for the time, and it likely grew out of her own strict upbringing.

[00:04:30]

During the 1950s, some experts encouraged parents to refuse their children emotional overindulgence in order to help them develop emotional regulation. But this may have had other unintended consequences.

[00:04:44]

Vanessa is going to take over and the psychology here and throughout the episode. Please note, Vanessa is not a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, but she has done a lot of research for this show.

[00:04:55]

Thanks, Greg. As ideas about parenting techniques have shifted in the decades since, dominant psychological opinion now affirms that a lack of affection in childhood may cause later emotional challenges, developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth found that the experience of physical proximity and contact between parent and child affected their long term emotional development.

[00:05:20]

This intimate contact with caregivers in infancy and childhood fosters secure frameworks for a child's future relationships. Likewise, as other developmental psychologists have noted, a lack of physical contact by a parent or caregiver can result in significant social development issues.

[00:05:39]

In addition to the potentially negative influence of Muriel's reserved demeanor, Michael and his brothers also suffered from their father's constant absence. Even when Virgil was stationed within the United States, he would find excuses to avoid his family, often spending nights at bars instead of home. It's likely Michael and his brothers didn't recognize anything was wrong with their family dynamic. Things just were the way they were.

[00:06:05]

But unlike his brothers, Michael was lauded as Muriel's favorite child. And though her affection was limited, Merial openly referred to Michael as her most gifted son. The lion's share of her affection seemed set aside just for him, and she insisted that he needed special attention, both financially and academically, to cultivate his talents and interests.

[00:06:29]

Muriel bought Michael an expensive professional clarinet. She would sit and listen to him play for hours. In addition to music, Muriel also bonded with Michael over mystery and thriller novels.

[00:06:41]

Detective stories had always been Muriel's favorites, and Michael took an interest in them at quite a young age. Soon, true crime magazines and noir comic books were all he read.

[00:06:53]

But this fascination with crime stories was less about the mystery and more about the violence to further feed his fascination. Michael bought copies of National Enquirer and cut out their crime reports.

[00:07:06]

Michael spent hours pasting the horrific stories into homemade scrapbooks. Merial watched as her son put together tribute books to terrible car crashes, accidental deaths and even murders.

[00:07:20]

It's unclear if Merial found the behavior concerning, but she certainly didn't discourage the habit.

[00:07:26]

Eventually, Muriel joined in on her son's mccolm fun. Now she sipped her morning coffee and read the newspaper. She'd clip out a story she thought Michael would like, then paste them into the scrapbooks. When someone questioned the healthiness of the obsession, Merial simply replied, Mike likes to keep up on these things.

[00:07:45]

His obsession suggests that Michael sought emotional stimulation through the violent stories of others. A study conducted by psychologist Robert Schaefer found that young people who experienced boredom and alienation sometimes reduced their emotional numbness through exposing themselves to violent stimuli.

[00:08:04]

This stimulation.

[00:08:06]

Allowed them to regain emotional power and encouraged a continued fascination with death, deathly preoccupations aside, Murielle likely believed Michael's obsessive behaviors were a natural consequence of his high intelligence and academic curiosity.

[00:08:24]

That natural intelligence helped Michael skate through high school. He received nearly perfect grades, was on the honor roll and did well on his aptitude tests. And one subject Michael took particular interest in was the Holocaust, likely because the devastating tragedy fed his obsession with violence outside of the classroom.

[00:08:45]

Some of Michael's peers and his brothers found him to be odd and arrogant. His parents opposing emotional influences left him hollow and Ill-Equipped to socialize if anyone did manage to get close. His obsession with violent crime and apparent narcissism made him an unappealing friend.

[00:09:02]

But friends weren't a priority for Michael. He was too focused on his bright future. At the end of high school in 1972, the 17 year old model student and musical prodigy accepted a full tuition scholarship to Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, much like in his previous schooling.

[00:09:22]

Michael's first two years there were a breeze.

[00:09:27]

But after that, some unsettling eccentricities emerged. When a girlfriend dumped him, Michael withdrew from his social life and adopted manners, more like his standoffish, orderly father.

[00:09:38]

In the wake of the breakup, Michael's emotional distress transformed him into a military fanatic virtually overnight. He painted his car, camouflage, green and dressed in military garb.

[00:09:51]

He also talked frequently to his peers about guns, car crashes and mass murder. Is new found aggression and apparent fanaticism worried the few friends he had, causing many to rethink their relationship.

[00:10:05]

Slowly, Michael's friendships all faded, now isolated. Most of the time, Michael had luxurious periods in which to indulge his obsession with violence and death. This conveniently coincided with the highly publicized violence of the Vietnam War, giving him ample material to fill more scrapbooks.

[00:10:28]

Michael followed the coverage of the conflict with fervor, sifting through the horror of it all, seeing the violence. Emotion on TV was so much better than the still images on his pages.

[00:10:39]

It made it all the more real, almost close enough to touch through the war where his father was stationed until 1975. Michael felt a newfound kinship with his father, and he decided that joining the armed forces would give him the opportunity to witness bloody violence firsthand.

[00:10:59]

So in the summer of 1974, 19 year old Michael dropped out of school, putting his medical aspirations on the back burner. He enlisted in the Marines and prepared himself for war. Up next, Michael finds a new deadly profession.

[00:11:19]

Hi, it's Greg.

[00:11:20]

Have you heard the newest Spotify original from podcast, it's called Very Presidential with Ashley Flowers, and it uncovers the most damning details surrounding history's most high profile leaders every Tuesday through the 2020 election. Host Ashley Flowers shines a light on the darker side of the American presidency. From torrid love affairs and contemptible corruption to shocking cover ups and even murder. She'll expose the personal and professional controversies you may never knew existed. You'll hear some wildly true stories about presidents such as Richard Nixon, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and more very presidential highlights the exploits you never learned in history class, but probably should have family drama, personal vices, dirty secrets.

[00:12:08]

These presidents may have run, but they most certainly can't hide. Bollo very presidential with Ashley flowers free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the story. After a childhood of conditional love and strict guidelines, 19 year old Joseph Michael Swango sought first hand exposure to the violence he'd collected in scrapbooks most of his life. In 1974, he abandoned his education and enlisted in the Marine Corps during his training.

[00:12:45]

Michael excelled in shooting and was designated a sharpshooter. His military training made Michael strong, lean and confident. It also brought him a sense of belonging and anonymity, things that gave him power over his narrative past and present. There was a strength, he realized, in blending in, but to his disappointment, he was not sent to Vietnam.

[00:13:10]

Instead, the young Marine went on to learn administrative procedures across the country, and that didn't help him get any closer to life and death situations, which likely frustrated him.

[00:13:20]

So the military fantasy didn't last for long. His time in the Marines taught him discipline and control, but hadn't indulged his hunger for violence the way he anticipated he was ready for a new challenge.

[00:13:35]

Michael decided that pursuing medicine was his new path. As a physician, he was sure to encounter death every day.

[00:13:43]

In 1976, he was honorably discharged and returned home to Quincy, Illinois, given his previous academic excellence and recent military background.

[00:13:54]

Michael was readily accepted to Quincy College for a premed track like before Michael passed his courses with flying colors, even while double majoring in chemistry and biology, wearing his Marines uniform on campus. Michael pursued his goals with the discipline and drive he'd learned in the military.

[00:14:14]

He also applied this willpower to filling out his resume, picking up work as an orderly at the Blessing hospital in town. After a few months there, he became a certified EMT, a role that would conveniently expose him to gruesome accidents on a daily basis.

[00:14:32]

Michael seemed drawn to medicine for its murderous possibilities. He wrote his senior chemistry thesis on the 1978 poisoning murder of a Bulgarian writer, Georgy Markov.

[00:14:42]

Michael fixated on how simple it was to murder with poison, the painful effects of fatal concoctions piqued his curiosity. It was so simple, so fast, so difficult to trace.

[00:14:56]

Michael also liked that Markov's murder remained unsolved. It was perhaps one of the first times he seriously considered the realities of murdering another person. Not that he told anyone else about this new development in his fascination. If he wanted to carry out this new dream, he had to fulfill another one first.

[00:15:15]

And that meant blending in. Despite a grueling interview and application process, 24 year old Michael was admitted to Southern Illinois University Medical School in 1979. He arrived in Carbondale, Illinois, for orientation, dressed in his signature Marine's fatigues.

[00:15:36]

Michael's class was small and introductory social events were intimate. But as the cohort got acquainted, Michael avoided sharing any personal details. After the first semester, his classmates knew nothing about where he was from, his family or his clinical goals, like in the Marines.

[00:15:53]

Michael tried to melt into the fold by withholding personal information. It's possible, he thought, anonymity would help hide his lethal desires and put him in a position of power.

[00:16:05]

However, Michael's military background and support of the war perplexed his classmates. Many of his fellow students endorsed the anti-war movement that swept the country during Vietnam. Meanwhile, Michael performed his morning calisthenics on the dorm lawn while shouting military chants.

[00:16:22]

The condemnation of his peers worsened with every uncomfortable social interaction. Michael's complete concealment of his motivations and identity worried the others. To them, it was unsettling.

[00:16:35]

Michael likely thought concealing his true intentions rather than fabricating false ones would make him easier to overlook at school. However, a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that concealment of a stigmatized identity often loops around to reinforce the distress and negative stigma that a person intends to hide. Michael's attempts to avoid ridicule intensified not only his odd demeanor but also his obsessive, violent thoughts.

[00:17:06]

The cloud of suspicion that floated around Michael made him a target of gossip and conjecture by his fellow pupils. Michael's classmates found his behavior even more alarming, considering his reckless disregard for the university's other rules.

[00:17:19]

Most notably, Southern Illinois University strongly recommended that students not take any jobs during their first year of study. The regulation was intended to help the prospective doctors focus on their studies. But Michael ignored the rules and accepted work as a paramedic in Springfield.

[00:17:41]

Michael's appetite for a close up exposure to violence and Gore had only grown since his last EMT gig.

[00:17:48]

Now he needed to satisfy his cravings with more than just his scrapbooks with these intense desires driving him. Michael found particular enjoyment in the anatomy lab during a human cadaver dissection. Michael waited until the room was empty to perform the procedure by himself.

[00:18:07]

In the dark and quiet lab, Michael could finally be alone with a dead body. He slowly soared with his tools at the hip and buttock region, excited to try out some of the violence he'd obsessed over for years on the day of the presentations.

[00:18:23]

He flipped the cadaver over to display his handiwork. The hip and buttock region of the body was an unrecognizable, grotesque mess. According to the book Blind Eye, the terrifying story of a doctor who got away with Murder by James B. Stewart, one student remarked that it looked as if Michael had dissected the body with a chainsaw rather than a scalpel.

[00:18:48]

The cadaver butchering was the talk of campus, but Michael was more entranced by his time with the cadaver than the judgment of the others.

[00:18:57]

Although he hadn't taken a life, he'd experienced complete power over the dead. The feeling was so different from the thrills he got witnessing emergencies as a paramedic. It was godlike.

[00:19:08]

Being around a dead body had aroused Michael's need for power. This need is echoed in a 2010 study of narcissistic physicians for the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. In the study, the authors write, the medical profession attracts individuals who are confident, and this is an important characteristic of most physicians. However, high levels of confidence can also have a downside. Their findings suggest that a significant portion of physicians, those with characteristics of narcissism, seek to establish power dynamics that support their self-image.

[00:19:45]

But rather than just seeking an affirmation of himself, Michael desired the power of God standing over the dead body. He had tasted the ultimate power and next time he wanted to be the one to take it.

[00:20:01]

As the school year wound down, Michael's overall performance on his other exams and classes was top notch. Though his classmates found him Off-putting, there was nothing to prevent him from progressing with his studies.

[00:20:14]

As his education continued, Michael was exposed to more advanced fields at the university's Springfield Medical Complex. During this time, he became particularly fascinated by pathology. It was no surprise that Michael latched onto pathology as the curriculum included toxicology or the study of poisons. He enjoyed learning about the very toxins that killed Georgy Markov, the focus of his chemistry thesis paper.

[00:20:40]

With his deeper exploration into poisons and death, Michael came to know himself and his dark desires more. His clinical identity grew in tandem with his homicidal identity.

[00:20:53]

Unlike his classmates, Michael had grown fanatical about taking human lives, not saving them. And despite his lacks dedication to actual medicine, Michael planned to concentrate in neurosurgery, one of the more delicate and complex specializations. The path afforded him a certain amount of prestige, as well as access to patients in precarious conditions. And this second part was troubling because the final phase of Michael's schooling involved rotations in hospital wards, caring for live humans in the clinical setting.

[00:21:25]

Michael's duties typically involved interviewing the patient about their medical history and performing customary physical examinations.

[00:21:34]

This task, but usually take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes in order to complete detailed and conclusive charts. Instead, Michael spent five to ten minutes with each patient and called it a day.

[00:21:46]

Michael didn't seem to care about the patients or the work, but it was hard for anyone to argue with his results. His charts were always complete and his write ups nearly perfect.

[00:21:58]

Still, his successful reports did little to assuage his cohorts worries about his ineptitude, because while he turned in perfect charts, Michael was earning a reputation for frequent fatalities among his patients.

[00:22:11]

A chalkboard in their classroom held the whole slate of patients assigned to students.

[00:22:16]

When one of Michael's died, he would scroll Didi's in capital letters over their name on the board, which was not the normal thing to do.

[00:22:28]

Week after week, Michael would casually mark the death of yet another patient. As James Stewart reports in his book Blind Eye, a classmate once asked if Michael felt bad when his patients died. Michael replied, No, that's just what happens.

[00:22:44]

Michael's callous indifference towards death was only bolstered by the frequent EMT shifts he was working in Springfield. At the first sound of his beeper, Michael happily skipped class to attend brutal accidents and care for patients on the brink of death.

[00:23:01]

Although Michael's record as an EMT is unclear, speculation suggests that his activities at work were just as fatal. It seems likely that the patients Michael treated in the ambulance regularly became ill or died. As a result, his access to patients as an EMT was revoked and Michael had to look elsewhere to get his death fix. Still, to many, the frequency of deaths among Michael's patients in the hospital seemed an odd coincidence. A supervisor once wondered aloud why so many patients would go into a state of emergency after Michael administered a history and physical exam.

[00:23:40]

Luckily for Michael, his lethal behaviors mostly inspired jokes rather than suspicion. For example, he was politely told to examine patients other students didn't want to deal with. It seems no one really suspected Michael of killing anyone. Death just seemed to follow him everywhere he went.

[00:23:58]

Eventually, Michael was even nicknamed Double O Swango. Like James Bond, Michael had a license to kill. Up next, Michael's fellow doctors finally speak up. Now back to the story. In 1982, 27 year old Joseph Michael Swango was less than a year from graduating medical school at Southern Illinois University, but his time as an intern caused concern. His patients died at an alarming rate. Despite this trail of dead patients. In his wake, Michael thought he was in the clear.

[00:24:39]

He'd already been admitted to a postgraduate residency program for neurosurgery.

[00:24:45]

But in the lead up to graduation, Michael was careless about attending his lectures and clinical goals in favor of his EMT job. At his absence was greatly noticed at the instructional surgeries and examinations.

[00:24:57]

This brought more attention to his controversial history at SEIU, and the chief OBGYN resident wondered about Michael's competency. Unsatisfied with his brief but suspiciously thorough reports, she had him perform a patient examination while she waited outside, the doctor sent Michael in to meet with an OBGYN patient who was due to have a cesarean section.

[00:25:21]

Instead of giving the patient a comprehensive questionnaire and physical, Michael left the room after only a few minutes. What's worse, he turned in a very thorough write up of the exam that had been clearly falsified. Upon this revelation, Michael was informed that he had failed the rotation. He would not graduate the next month.

[00:25:40]

Michael pleaded for leniency from the OBGYN faculty, but it was too late. The department's case incited a broader administrative investigation about his status and competence. Now, not only was Michael in danger of being held back, he also faced expulsion as the conflict escalated.

[00:26:01]

Michael decided his only hope was legal intimidation. With three years of study and his degree on the line, Michael hired a lawyer.

[00:26:09]

As the battle raged on, students got involved in the conflict and submitted a formal letter requesting Michael's expulsion. They articulated concerns about Michael's general incompetence in personality and ability, which they argued disqualified him from clinical work.

[00:26:27]

But the letter didn't focus on Michael's mysterious patient deaths. Perhaps they thought the claim was too outrageous, even for Michael.

[00:26:35]

Eventually, the legal teams reached an agreement. Michael would be allowed to graduate the following year, 1983, contingent on his passing of OBGYN, as well as additional assignments to prove his competency. It was a slap on the wrist.

[00:26:52]

Considering his delayed graduation, Michael's classmates were relieved. Well, they weren't able to completely bar Michael from practicing medicine. They felt satisfied graduating without him.

[00:27:06]

And as the new school year began, Michael modeled perfect student behavior in retaking the rotation, he attended all his OBGYN exams and surgeries and aced his additional assignments.

[00:27:20]

By the time internship applications were due, Michael was back in good standing at the university. This time, he secured a prestigious internship and residency with Ohio State's medical program.

[00:27:31]

Despite the prior allegations of his incompetence, 27 year old Joseph Michael Swango graduated from Southern Illinois University Medical School in April of 1983.

[00:27:44]

He was relieved to leave behind the force of academia and assume anonymity again. He was one step closer to fulfilling his murderous desires.

[00:27:58]

As he headed to Ohio for his internship, Michael appeared to be a changed man. He was a clean-Cut attractive medical professional on the surface, but underneath he was still the same fanatical, morbid man.

[00:28:12]

When he started his position at the Rhodes whole wing of the hospital, the nurses found the blond intern charming. But after getting to know him, hospital staff noticed Michael strange and idiosyncratic behavior, unlike at medical school.

[00:28:27]

Michael was under direct observation as part of an elite group of surgical interns. In the first few months, Michael's supervisor saw through his slippery charm and wrote worried notes about his incompetence.

[00:28:39]

In addition to other observed deficiencies, his professors complained that he lacked the compassion necessary to practice medicine.

[00:28:47]

Michael was unfeeling and had, quote, weird ideas about death. He troubled his reporting physicians with talk of the Holocaust and Nazis conversation that was so persistent and concerning that it was noted in his school file after receiving a negative evaluation.

[00:29:05]

Michael came under the microscope once again with his residency in jeopardy. Michael felt powerless, and he knew only one way to feel powerful once again. As the New Year began in 1984, Strange Emergency struck the patients in Michael's wing.

[00:29:22]

On January 31st, Michael visited an elderly patient named Ruth Baric. Ruth was recovering from a cerebral hematoma and on her way to a full recovery.

[00:29:34]

After Michael's visit, Ruth went into respiratory arrest and had to be resuscitated. The emergency was unusual, but not remarkable after she was stabilized.

[00:29:44]

Michael paid her another visit. It's unclear what Michael did to Ruth, but after he left her room, she went into respiratory arrest yet again. Michael responded to the emergency with several other physicians feigning concern while the doctors were baffled.

[00:30:03]

Michael knew exactly what caused Ruth's condition. He watched his victims slip out of his grasp. She was transferred to intensive care.

[00:30:12]

But a week later, a stabilized Ruth returned to Rhodes Hall. And on February 6th, a determined Michael entered Ruth's room and pulled the curtains around her bed.

[00:30:25]

Michael leaned over her and studied her weakened condition. The sight of Ruth's pale skin and shallow breath was exciting. She was so close to death as he felt his power growing. Michael reached up to find her IV line. He wanted to watch life leave her.

[00:30:44]

Just then, a nurse popped her head through the curtains, startling Michael. She asked if he needed any help. He fixed on an assuring smile and told her he was fine after she left.

[00:30:57]

Michael took out multiple syringes. He had to act quickly. One by one, Michael injected Ruth with the unknown deadly contents. When he was done, he pocketed the syringes and hurried out.

[00:31:11]

Seeing Michael's mad dash out of the room, the same nurse went to check on Ruth. She was no longer breathing. An emergency call blared as the nurse waited for a doctor to show up, Michael entered the room and watched her, tried to give Ruth mouth to mouth resuscitation. He didn't make a single move to help. Instead, he muttered to the nurse, That is so disgusting. Ruth Barracked died minutes later, leaving Michael to fill out her chart.

[00:31:44]

It was like creating his own scrapbook entry.

[00:31:47]

Michael was seemingly unconcerned about getting caught. In fact, as soon as the next day, he was ready to strike again.

[00:31:56]

Michael had already planned out his next victim on February 7th. He visited 69 year old Rena Cooper, who was recovering from lower back surgery.

[00:32:05]

He paid no mind to her roommate, 59 year old Iwona Utz, a brain tumor patient. Nothing could stop Michael from taking another life, not even a witness. He went directly to Reena's tubes. This time, he didn't want any nurses to interrupt. He positioned the long needle and plunged a syringe of strange liquid into the IV without a word. He ran from the room. After a moment of calm, Rina started to seize her body, clanged against the railings as she shook uncontrollably, Iwona screamed for help, alerting a nearby nurse.

[00:32:46]

Confused physicians flooded in to address the emergency.

[00:32:51]

Eventually, doctors stabilized Rina and she was moved to intensive care when she was able to speak again, she recounted that a tall blonde doctor injected her with something just before the seizures began.

[00:33:06]

And all of a sudden suspicion fell upon Michael Swango, the new intern.

[00:33:11]

Hospital staff took fresh notice of the curious deaths of Michael's patients. One nurse reported that there were more emergency codes on the ninth floor since Michael's rotations began than there had been the entire previous year. Looking back, they noticed a disturbing pattern of mysterious deaths.

[00:33:32]

On January 14th, Cynthia and McGee, a young gymnast, was found dead in Room nine one six days later, on January 20th, 21 year old Richard DeLong unexpectedly died. Finally, 43 year old Raine Walter died unable to breathe on January 24th, as rumors swirled about Reena's account of Michael's fateful visit to her bed.

[00:33:56]

Michael swore he'd never even attended Terina or been in the room before the emergency call.

[00:34:02]

Considering the seriousness of the situation, upper administration at Ohio State were called in to conduct an internal investigation. In response, Michael was told to take a few days off while they made their assessment.

[00:34:15]

Michael maintained his innocence, but dutifully accepted. He'd worked his way out of suspicions many times before, and he knew he could do it again and his confidence paid off. In the end, the consensus of the board was much like that. At Michael's medical school trial, contradictory reports, lack of evidence and legal repercussions made it impossible to punish Michael. Despite an overwhelming unease felt by the staff of Rhodes Hall, it was ruled that Michael could return to his internship once again.

[00:34:52]

Michael had avoided the consequences of his murderous deeds with a sense of superiority. Michael sauntered back into the hospital. He felt powerful. God like nothing could stop him now.

[00:35:15]

Thanks again for tuning into serial killers. We'll be back on Thursday with part two of Joseph Michael Swango story. We'll explore Michael's continued evasion of consequences as his murder spree picks up pace.

[00:35:28]

For more information on Joseph Michael Swango. Amongst the many sources we used, we found Blind Eye, the terrifying story of a doctor who got away with murder by James B. Stewart.

[00:35:40]

Extremely helpful to our research. You can find more episodes of Serial Killers and all of the podcast originals for free on Spotify, not only to Spotify, already have all of your favorite music, but now Spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite podcast originals like Serial Killers for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream serial killers on Spotify. Just open the app and type serial killers in the search bar. We'll see you next time.

[00:36:08]

Have a killer week.

[00:36:13]

Serial Killers was created by Max Cutler and his APAs cast.

[00:36:17]

Studio's original executive producers include Max and Ron Cuddler Sound Design by Mike Ramos with production assistants by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Joshua Kern.

[00:36:28]

This episode of Serial Killers was written by Isabella Minichiello with writing assistants by Abigail Canon and stars Greg Polson and Vanessa Richardson. Hi again, it's Greg. Before I go, I wanted to remind you to check out the news, Spotify original from podcast, very presidential with Ashleigh Flowers.

[00:36:53]

Every Tuesday through the 2020 election, host Ashleigh Flowers shines a light on the darker side of the American presidency, exposing wildly true stories about history's most high profile leaders. There's torrid love affairs, shocking blackmail schemes and even murder.

[00:37:10]

I can't recommend this show enough to hear more of follow. Very presidential with Ashleigh flowers free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.