The little boy would not wake up. It wasn't as if he was short of sleep; the night before, seven year-old Michael Anderson said he was getting tired not long after eating a few pieces of his Hallowe'en candy. His parents assumed he was just overcome from the excitement of trick-or-treating. But now it was morning and a schoolday, so it was time for him to get out of bed. Except his mother could not wake him up.

Then she noticed he had vomited on his pillow while asleep.

Instead of taking him to Sheppard Elementary, she rushed Michael to Memorial Hospital.

Blood tests revealed he had consumed an overdose of barbiturates. Also, he had aspirated some of his stomach contents, which put him at risk of death. He was in a coma for over 24 hours.

Elsewhere in Santa Rosa on that 1973 Hallowe'en, two teenage girls went to the hospital. One of them was in the same Roseland neighborhood where Michael lived and feared she was having a "bad trip" (hey, it was 1973). The other girl was in South Park and felt sick after eating wrapped taffy which doctors thought might have contained aspirin with codine.

Sonoma County Sheriff Don Striepeke told the Press Democrat "there's no doubt at this point that all three of these young people were drugged by candy from trick or treat bags" and advised all Hallowe'en candy given out in Santa Rosa be thrown away.

Deputies went door-to-door in the area where Michael made his rounds that night and contacted 150 residents, warning them about the tainted candy. Two people were given polygraph tests and nothing further was said about them. But no matter - Michael's story made him the perfect poster child for "Secret Witness"! 

The rest of this article can be read at the website. Because of recurring problems with the Blogger platform, I am no longer wasting my time formatting and posting complete articles here. I will continue to create stubs for the sake of continuity, but will be publishing full articles only at

- Jeff Elliott


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