Tales from the Morgue: A particularly heinous crime against children

A man who tricks children into drinking a possibly toxic substance deserves almost the worst of consequences, especially since he also lied to the children and told them their mother had died.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Sunday, Oct. 6, 1968:

Stranger’s Hoax Makes 3 Children Ill

Three children are ill in Tucson Medical Center after a stranger told them their water supply was contaminated and had them drink a green fluid to counteract the contamination, according to a report filed with the Sheriff’s Dept.

The man, wearing green, also told the children yesterday morning that he was from the Pima County Health Dept. and that their mother was dead, it was reported.

The mother of the hoaxed children is Mrs. Patricia Martin, of 6441 Calle de Estevan.

At the Medical Center, the youngest child, Michelle, who is 7, was in intensive care. Robert, 10, and Deborah, 13, were listed as satisfactory.

A neighbor of the family reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Dept. at 10:43 a.m. after his son, a playmate of Robert’s, had gone to the house to play with him. The man in green answered the door and told the boy that the children were asleep.

According to the Sheriff’s report, the two girls began screaming a short time after and were hysterical when the sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene. The man had disappeared.

It was not known last night what the green fluid contained.

The man was caught and arrested more than a week later, but offered no explanation as to his reason for targeting the children.

From the Star, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 1968:

‘Actor’ Held In Poisoning Of Children

A 25-year-old self-styled actor accused of forcing three Tucson children to drink a sickening liquid while posing as a health inspector was being held in Pima County Jail last night.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Robert Bayne of 1402 Miracle Mile on suspicion of aggravated battery in connection with the Oct. 5 incident.

Investigators said a man fitting Bayne’s description induced the children to drink a green-colored liquid after telling them that the family’s water supply was contaminated.

Hospitalized for several days were Deborah, 13; Robert, 10, and Michelle, 7, children of Mr. and

Officers arrested Bayne after the victims identified him. He is being held under $2,000 bond.

When booked Bayne gave his occupation as an actor and said he was employed at a western-type amusement center here.

Bayne was arraigned the following day on three counts of aggravated battery. No more news of the case was reported in the Arizona Daily Star as far as we can find.

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