George Trepal and his wife were next door neighbors to Parealyn and Peggy Carr. Trepal and the Carrs were involved in a number of altercations, including one incident in which Trepal threatened to kill one of the Carr children. The Carrs also received an unsigned letter threatening harm to their family if they did not leave Florida.
In October of 1988, Peggy Carr began to suffer from a mysterious illness. Dr. Hostler suspected thallium poisoning based on the symptoms displayed. Within one day, thallium poisoning was confirmed. Other family members, including Gelena Shiver, Kasey Bell and Parealyn Carr also were found with poison in their systems.
Travis Carr and Duane Dubberly also exhibited similar symptoms and were transported to the hospital.
Peggy Carr fell into a coma and died when life support was disconnected in March of 1988.
In November of 1989, officials determined the poison was in Coca-Cola bottles at the Carr's home. Officials determined that it was impossible for eight bottles containing thallium to end up being packaged together.
In June of 1988, the Carrs received a letter threatening that they would all die if they did not leave Florida immediately. The prosecution linked Trepal to the threatening letter that the Carrs had received because of comments he made during a police interview. When officials inquired into why Trepal thought someone would poison the Carrs, he told them to get them to move out.
The police determined that Trepal had the opportunity to enter the Carrs’ residence because they did not always lock their doors upon leaving the residence. Also, Trepal had worked as a chemist in an amphetamine laboratory. Thallium was a by-product of amphetamine production. In 1975, Trepal was convicted of Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine.
In order to further investigate Trepal, Special Agent Susan Goreck went undercover. She attended a “Mensa Murder Weekend” that Trepal’s wife organized under the name of Sherry Guinn. Trepal wrote a pamphlet for the weekend that described writing a threatening note and then poisoning the recipient of the note.
Goreck rented the Trepal home after he and his wife moved to Virginia. Investigators found powdered thallium in the home and a bottle-capping machine along with other incriminating evidence.