Serial Killer: Michael J. Swango

By Chris Bunton

I love to travel, and as part of my travel plans I research criminals and crime locations. Recently, I traveled to Quincy, Illinois, where I discovered that the Serial Killer named Michael Swango was raised there. So, I checked out some of the sites associated with him.

He was born in 1954, in Tacoma, Washington. He grew up in Quincy, Illinois; where he attended the Catholic Boys High School which no longer exists and has been incorporated with Quincy Notre Dame. He graduated from the catholic high school as Valedictorian in 1972. He seemed to do very well in all of his studies, even graduating summa cum laude from Quincy University, where he attended after high school.

He then, studied medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine; where strange things began to be noticed about him. He had a tendency to be associated with patients who sickened and/or died.  It was so obvious, that his fellow students labeled him as “Double O Swango” in reference to James Bond and a license to kill.

He transferred his studies to Ohio State in 1983, where again patients under his care began to get sick and die at an alarming rate. He was investigated, but was exonerated of any wrong doing. He applied for a license to practice medicine from Ohio, which was approved.

He moved back to Quincy, Illinois where he started working for the Ambulance Service there. He seemed to enjoy being an EMT where he could witness people in the act of dying; perhaps even pushing them over the edge.

It was here, at his ambulance job that he was first arrested for poisoning his co-workers with doctored up donuts. It was the final straw in a serious of odd occurrences, where the other EMT’s had gotten sick because of something Swango had made or given them to eat or drink.

The police searched Swango’s house at 220 north 18th street in Quincy. They found a treasure trove of weird things, which showed that Swango, was a Poisoner, and kept scrapbooks on his infatuation with death. He researched poisons of all kinds, creating recipes on how to concoct them. He was arrested and charged with Battery.

I visited the location where he lived in Quincy. The building is somewhat run down, in a town that prides itself on architecture, and keeping things in good shape. The structure is down the road from Quincy University, and a short drive to all the other sites associated with him in Quincy.

He was convicted of Aggravated Battery and sentenced to 5 years, but he only served two years and was released in 1987. He also lost his license.  A deeper investigation had been conducted and it was believed he had committed murder while in Ohio, but there was not enough evidence.

After his release, he moved to Virginia, where he was denied a medical license. He worked in various jobs, that surrounded the medical industry, but everywhere he went people got sick.

He tried to get his license restored in various states around the country, even gaining a chance in South Dakota. But, his past caught up with him. He was again sent searching for some place that would accept him; finally landing in New Port, New York.

Again, everywhere that Swango went, the poisoning was sure to come. He lost his job in New York, and the FBI put out a warrant for his arrest, because he had been crossing state lines to do his criminal acts.

Since the feds were after him, he decided to leave the country and practice medicine in Africa. While in Africa he again began poisoning people.

He was arrested when he came back to the United States for a visit on June 27, 1997 on a defrauding the government case. Then, while incarcerated he was charged with Murder, and received 3 life sentences.

He is still serving time in federal prison, as Michael J. Swango inmate # 08352-424. The FBI believes he has killed around 60 people.

Inmate Locator:

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Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer, Poet, and Blogger from Southern Illinois.

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Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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