Thallium poisoning death being investigated by police

HOUGHTON — Police are continuing the investigation into the death of a Houghton woman who was poisoned by thallium.

Janel Sturzl, 31, of Houghton died in December of 2015 from thallium poisoning. She sought treatment for an unknown illness back in October of that year. She was transferred to the Mayo Clinic the following month. Doctors discovered she had been poisoned with lethal levels of thallium.

Three days before Christmas, Sturzl died. She was a former employee of the Mining Gazette in Houghton and actively involved in the Society of Creative Anachronism.

Thallium, a heavy metal substance formerly used in agricultural pest control, was banned in the 1960’s due to misuse. These poisonings are rare in the U.S.

The police were made aware of another thallium poisoning in downstate Michigan but believe they are unrelated at this time.

The Houghton Police, along with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, Michigan State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, are actively investigating all leads.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Houghton Police Department at (906) 487-5912.