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Infamous 'Candy Man' murder investigator recalls Halloween crime

October 31, 1974

'Candy Man' murder former officer remembers Halloween

FOUNTAIN, Colo. - A father poisoned his eight-year-old son with candy.  It happened nearly four decades ago on October 31. Now, the first officer to get to the crime scene is talking about that horrific Halloween night. It's a story you'll only see here.

Halloween in Colorado Springs was a happy evening full of treats for children. However, former Deer Park, Texas police officer Jesse Zesiger has a not so happy story.

He invited KRDO Newschannel 13 into his new home in Fountain after he moved five years ago from the Houston area.

"I confiscated the Pixi Stix when I got there and I remembered everything hermetically sealed. This had staples in it."

On October 31, 1974 Jesse was a rookie police officer. He got a call about a very sick boy: timothy O'Bryan.

"The trauma of seeing the boy laying in the bathroom going through dry heaves," said Zesiger.

Investigators later found out his father, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, had poisoned his son's Pixi Stix with cyanide.

"Interviewing the perpetrator who Iooked genuinely upset when I was interviewing him, turns out, it was a fake. Maybe he was upset because he knew he killed his own son," said Zesiger.

The case revealed O'Bryan, now called the Candy Man, was in serious debt and had taken out multiple life insurance policies on Timothy. It was the motive detectives needed to charge him with murder.

"Plus, he had talked to co-workers and a lot of people asking about cyanide and what it would take to kill somebody," said Zesiger.

On this spooky holiday, Zesiger recalls the 20 years after the Pixi Stix incident.

"And for years after that in no one in Deer Park or Houston would trick-or-treat," he said.

Even now he has a hard time coping with a day that so many families enjoy.

"I'm perplexed about whether or not there should be Halloween because of that case," said Zesiger.

So Zesiger has one piece of advice for parents.

"Parents need to check their candy. Fruit, they need to cut it open… Check. Double check," said Zesiger.

The good news is sociologists say the idea that strangers are targeting children with poisoned Halloween candy is more fiction than fact.

O'Bryan was sentenced to death and executed by the state of Texas in 1984.

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