Korean Jeong H. Im a protein chemist from the University of Missouri is just the latest in a long line of scientists that have died in suspicious circumstances. Full chronological list below.
November 6, 2001: Jeffrey Paris Wall’s body was found sprawled next to a three-story parking structure near his office. Mr. Wall, 41, had studied at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a biomedical expert who held a medical degree, and he also specialized in patent and intellectual property. It had been alleged that Jeffrey Wall had a connection to Biofem.
November 16, 2001: Dr. Don Wiley, 57, disappears during a business trip to Memphis, Tennessee. He had just bought tickets to take his son to Graceland the following day. Police found his rental car on a bridge outside Memphis. His body was later found in the Mississippi River. Wiley was one of the world’s leading researchers of deadly viruses, including HIV and the Ebola virus. He was an expert on the immune system’s response to viral attacks.
November 21, 2001: World-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, 64, dies of a stroke. Pasechnik, who defected to Britain in 1989, succeeded in producing an aerosolized plague microbe that could survive outside the laboratory. He was connected to Britain’s spy agency and recently had started his own company. “In the last few weeks of his life he had put his research on anthrax at the disposal of the [British] Government, in the light of the threat from bioterrorism.
November 24, 2001: Three more dead microbiologists: A Swissair flight from Berlin to Zurich crashes during its landing approach; 22 are killed and nine survive. Among those killed are Dr. Yaakov Matzner, 54, dean of the Hebrew University school of medicine; Amiramp Eldor, 59, head of the haematology department at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and a world-recognized expert in blood clotting; and Avishai Berkman, 50, director of the Tel Aviv public health department and businessman.
December 10, 2001: Dead microbiologist: “Dr. Robert Schwartz, 57, was stabbed and slashed with what police believe was a sword in his farmhouse in Leesberg, Va. His daughter, who identifies herself as a pagan high priestess, and three of her fellow pagans have been charged.” [Globe and Mail, 5/4/02] All were part of what they called a coven, and interested in magic, fantasy and self-mutilation. The police have no motive as to why they would have wanted to kill Schwartz, who was a single parent and said to be very close to his children. Schwartz worked at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology on DNA sequencing and pathogenic microorganisms.
December 14, 2001: Dead microbiologist: Nguyen Van Set, 44, dies in an airlock filled with nitrogen in his lab in Geelong, Australia. The lab had just been written up in the journal Nature for its work in genetic manipulation and DNA sequencing. Scientists there had created a virulent form of mousepox. “They realized that if similar genetic manipulation was carried out on smallpox, an unstoppable killer could be unleashed,”
January 2002: Two dead microbiologists: Ivan Glebov and Alexi Brushlinski. Glebov died as the result of a bandit attack and Brushlinski was killed in Moscow. Both were well known around the world and members of the Russian Academy of Science.
February 9, 2002: Dead microbiologist: Victor Korshunov, 56, is bashed over the head and killed at the entrance of his home in Moscow, Russia. He was the head of the microbiology sub-faculty at the Russian State Medical University and an expert in intestinal bacteria.
February 11, 2002: Dead microbiologist: Dr. Ian Langford, 40, is found dead, partially naked and wedged under a chair in his home in Norwich, England. When found, his house was described as “blood-spattered and apparently ransacked.” He was one of Europe’s leading experts on environmental risk.
February 28, 2002: Two dead microbiologists in San Francisco: While taking delivery of a pizza, Tanya Holzmayer, 46, is shot and killed by a colleague, Guyang Huang, 38, who then apparently shot himself. Holzmayer moved to the US from Russia in 1989. Her research focused on the part of the human molecular structure that could be affected best by medicine. Holzmayer was focusing on helping create new drugs that interfere with replication of the virus that causes AIDS. One year earlier, Holzmayer obeyed senior management orders to fire Huang.
March 24, 2002: Dead microbiologist: David Wynn-Williams, 55, is hit by a car while jogging near his home in Cambridge, England. He was an astrobiologist with the Antarctic Astrobiology Project and the NASA Ames Research Center. He was studying the capability of microbes to adapt to environmental extremes, including the bombardment of ultraviolet rays and global warming.
March 25, 2002: Dead microbiologist: Steven Mostow, 63, dies when the airplane he was piloting crashes near Denver, Colorado. He worked at the Colorado Health Sciences Centre and was known as “Dr. Flu” for his expertise in treating influenza, and expertise on bioterrorism. Mostow was one of the country’s leading infectious disease experts.
November 12 2002: Dr. Benito Que, 52, was “an expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School. Police originally suspected that he had been beaten on in a carjacking in the medical school’s parking lot. Strangely enough, though, his body showed no signs of a beating.
June 24, 2003: Dr. Leland Rickman, a UC San Diego expert on infectious diseases and, since Sept. 11, 2001 a consultant on bioterrorism. He was 47. Rickman died while on a teaching assignment in Lesotho, a small country bordered on all sides by South Africa. He had complained of a headache, but the cause of death was not immediately known. The physician had been working in Lesotho with Dr. Chris Mathews, director of the UC San Diego Medical Center’s Owen Clinic, teaching African medical personnel about the prevention and treatment of AIDS.Rickman, the incoming president of the Infectious Disease Assn. of California, was a multidisciplinary professor and practitioner with expertise in infectious diseases, internal medicine, epidemiology, microbiology and antibiotic utilization.
July 18, 2003: David Kelly, a British biological weapons expert, was said to have slashed his own wrists while walking near his home. Kelly was the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific officer and senior adviser to the proliferation and arms control secretariat, and to the Foreign Office’s non-proliferation department. The senior adviser on biological weapons to the UN biological weapons inspections teams(Unscom) from 1994 to 1999, he was also, in the opinion of his peers, pre-eminent in his field, not only in this country, but in the world.
November 20, 2003: Scientist Robert Leslie Burghoff, 45 was killed by a hit and run driver that jumped the kerb and ploughed into him in the 1600 block of South Braeswood, Texas. He was studying the virus plaguing cruise ships. April 2004: Mohammed Munim al-Izmerly, a distinguished Iraqi chemistry professor dies in American custody from a sudden hit to the back of his head caused by blunt trauma. It was uncertain exactly how he died, but someone had hit him from behind, possibly with a bar or a pistol. His battered corpse turned up at Baghdad’s morgue and the cause of death was initially recorded as “brainstem compression”. It was discovered that US doctors had made a 20cm incision in his skull.
May 5, 2004: A Russian scientist at a former Soviet biological weapons laboratory in Siberia died after an accident with a needle laced with ebola. Scientists and officials said the accident had raised concerns about safety and secrecy at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, known as Vector, which in Soviet times specialized in turning deadly viruses into biological weapons. Vector has been a leading recipient of aid in an American programme.
May 14, 2004: Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, a Norwich Free Academy graduate, 56, died after being beaten to death during an alleged robbery. Mallove was well respected for his knowledge of cold fusion. He had just published an “open letter” outlining the results of and reasons for his last 15 years in the field of “new energy research.” Dr. Mallove was convinced it was only a matter of months before the world would actually see a free energy device.
June 22, 2004: Astronomer and physicist, Austrian born Thomas Gold famous over the years for a variety of bold theories that flout conventional wisdom died of heart failure. Gold’s theory of the deep hot biosphere holds important ramifications for the possibility of life on other planets, including seemingly inhospitable planets within our own solar system. He was Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Cornell University and wass the founder (and for 20 years director) of Cornell Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. He was also involved in air accident investigation.
July 3, 2004: Dr Paul Norman, 52, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, was killed when the single-engine Cessna 206 he was piloting crashed in Devon. He was married with a 14-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter, and was the chief scientist for chemical and biological defence at the Ministry of Defence’s laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire. The crash site was examined by officials from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the wreckage of the aircraft was removed from the site to the AAIB base at Farnborough.
July 21, 2004: Dr Bassem al-Mudares’ mutilated body was found in the city of Samarra, Iraq*. He was a phD chemist and had been tortured before being killed.
July 29, 2004: 67-year-old John Mullen, a nuclear research scientist with McDonnell Douglas dies from a huge dose of poisonous arsenic. Police investigating will not say how Mullen was exposed to the arsenic or where it came from. At the time of his death he was doing contract work for Boeing.
August 12, 2004: Professor John Clark, head of the science lab which created Dolly the sheep, was found hanging in his holiday home. Prof Clark led the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, one of the world’s leading animal biotechnology research centres. He played a crucial role in creating the transgenic sheep that earned the institute worldwide fame. Prof Clark also founded three spin-out firms from Roslin – PPL Therapeutics, Rosgen and Roslin BioMed.
September 5, 2004: Mohammed Toki Hussein al-Talakani Iraqi nuclear scientist* was shot dead in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad. He was a practising nuclear physicist since 1984.
December 21, 2004: Taleb Ibrahim al-Daher Iraqi nuclear scientist was shot dead north of Baghdad by unknown gunmen. He was on his way to work at Diyala University when armed men opened fire on his car as it was crossing a bridge in Baqouba, 57 km northeast of Baghdad. The vehicle swerved off the bridge and fell into the Khrisan river. Al-Daher, who was a professor at the local university, was removed from the submerged car and rushed to Baqouba hospital where he was pronounced dead.
January 7, 2005: Korean Jeong H. Im, retired research assistant professor at the University of Missouri – Columbia and primarily a protein chemist, died of multiple stab wounds to the chest before firefighters found in his body in the trunk of a burning car on the third level of the Maryland Avenue Garage. MUPD with the assistance of the Columbia Police Department and Columbia Fire Department are conducting a death investigation of the incident. A person of interest described as a male 6’ – 6’2” wearing some type of mask possible a painters mask or drywall type mask was seen in the area of the Maryland Avenue Garage.
*More than 310 Iraqi scientists are thought to have perished at the hands of Israeli secret agents in Iraq since fall of Baghdad to US troops in April 2003.