Joe Gilliam, Oregon, Double Poisoned Father, turns 60 Friday at Vancouver Hospital, Washington

When Olivia Gilliam last saw her father in mid-March, she caught a glimpse of his bubbly personality. Despite being unable to speak or move most of his limbs, Joe Gilliam responded to her presence, his 22-year-old daughter told The Daily Beast. “I know he’s still out there somewhere,” Olivia said. “He can react even though he doesn’t say it verbally. He can smile. Most of his reactions are just looking at him give or a thumbs up. “

A powerful Oregon lobbyist who has climbed the mountains in his late fifties, Gilliam will spend his 60th birthday on Friday and be confined to his hospital bed in a care facility. undisclosed long-term care in Vancouver, Washington. More than two years ago, Gilliam was on the verge of death.

A few days after Thanksgiving 2020 in Cave Creek, Arizona, where he had a motel, Gilliam fell ill and was taken to a local hospital, where doctors concluded he had been poisoned with an insecticide. Odorless and tasteless rats have been banned from use in American households since the Administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. It turned out to be Gilliam’s second attempt in life using Thallium – a toxic, water-soluble metal that can be lethal in small doses and used to knock out enemies of the pro-regime regime. regime.

Gilliam survived, but he was put in a coma and on life support for several months. While Gilliam regained consciousness and was able to breathe on his own, he remained speechless, according to court records in his custody case in Clackamas County, Washington. With Gilliam’s life in balance, police detectives in Arizona and Oregon were shortlisted individuals in his direct orbit, according to court documents reviewed by The Daily Beast and interviews with his daughter, Olivia, and others close to Gilliam.

“That was the scariest part for me,” Olivia said. “Someone extremely close to us planned this. It’s not like they used bleach. They really went for it. ”

Joe Gilliam, Oregon lobbyist.

Liv Scott Gilliam

Before the mysterious poisoning, Gilliam was a force to be reckoned with in politics in Oregon, as well as in the Northwestern United States. A devout Christian from Lake Oswego, Oregon, Gilliam began her political career lobbying for the National Federation of Independent Business, according to Williamette Week, the first reported poisoning cases. . His brother Vic Gilliam also made political mistakes, serving five terms in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Since 1999, Gilliam has been president of the Northwest Grocery Association, an advocacy group that fights for the rights of grocers like Fred Meyer, Safeway and Costco. He expanded the reach of the organization to Washington and Idaho.

Jason Atkinson, a former Oregon representative and state senator from 1998 to 2013, has been Gilliam’s friends for over 20 years. Atkinson told The Daily Beast: “He has a reputation as a man of his word, perhaps the rarest and most valuable commodity in politics. “He also has a reputation for playing hard. If the grocer gets hit, he’ll hit back no matter how hard or light.”

In addition to being a politician, Gilliam is also a strategic thinker, Atkinson adds. For example, Gilliam succeeded in adding an amendment to the state’s 2011 Bottles Bill that would prevent Oregonians from exchanging their deposits for empty beverage containers at grocery stores.

“Dirty empty bottles returning to grocery stores are a huge financial burden for them,” says Atkinson. “He came up with the idea of ​​taking [the empty bottles] Go to redemption centers and create a way for people to get coupons to buy groceries. Redemption centers across the state were conceived by Joe Gilliam.”


L to R Jason Atkinson, Joe Gilliam, and Shawn Miller were seen here on Miller’s wedding day.

Liv Scott Gilliam

Outside of politics, Gilliam is the big brother all his friends can count on, Atkinson said. “We’re more than just friends,” Atkinson said. “We attended each other’s wedding and raised our children together. When your best friend gets poisoned, it heightens how you feel and makes you try to find out as much as possible about who did it. “

The first Thallium attack took place around June 2020 shortly before Gilliam returned to Lake Oswego from a trip to his motel in Cave Creek, Arizona, as told by Olivia and her mother, second ex-wife. Gilliam’s two, Lisa Gilliam. When he got back to Oregon, his legs were numb and in excruciating pain.

Lisa, who has been married to Gilliam for a decade and has known him for more than two decades, said he is a born athlete who keeps an eye on his diet and exercise routine. “He climbed Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens when she was 57 years old. “He will set goals for himself and accomplish them.”

So when he called their daughter to tell her something was wrong with him and that she needed to fly right to Oregon from Austin, Texas, where Olivia and she live, she knew. Gilliam is in really bad shape, Lisa said. “He was never sick,” she said. “He’s the healthiest person I know.”

At the time, however, the doctors treating Gilliam diagnosed him with Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes the body’s immune system to attack the nervous system. Thallium poisoning, which also attacks the nervous system, can mimic other illnesses, leading to it going unnoticed in sick patients, according to the Library of Medicine. Nation.

Since the second hospital incident in November 2020, when it was determined Gilliam was indeed poisoned, Olivia believes the three were with her father in Cave Creek when he likely took the drug both times. may have important information to share about what happened to her father. .

It was Christina Marini, Gilliam’s girlfriend, who had been barred from visiting him at the long-term care facility; Ronald Smith, a lobbyist friend of Gilliam, who is suing him over a $71,000 loan that helped pay for his Cave Creek home; and Tim Mooney, an Arizona political consultant who is friends with Gilliam and Smith.

The Williamette Week Marini reports that they believe all three were there both times Gilliam was poisoned.

“I can’t say for sure who did it,” Olivia said.

A spokesperson for Sheriff Maricopa declined to comment for this story. Marini, who began dating Gilliam in 2019, initially agreed to a phone interview last week, but did not pick up her cell phone at the scheduled time. She did not respond to phone messages and emails requesting comment afterward. Smith did not respond to multiple requests for comment in voicemail.

With his cell phone, Mooney said he will only respond by email. However, he failed to do so when The Daily Beast sent him a list of questions last week. He also did not return phone messages and emails afterwards.

Lisa, who has known Mooney and Smith as long as she has known Gilliam, said she has spoken to Mooney on a regular basis since the second poisoning but he is unwilling to cooperate with investigators. “He stated he was willing to talk to them, but only through his attorney or in writing,” Lisa explained. “Tim’s so many limitations on his willingness to cooperate was a real source of frustration for me and [Olivia]. ”

Smith, who has a felony conviction in Denver, Colorado and worked on ballot measures with Gilliam in Oregon, was allegedly bitter about the terms of a $71,000 loan for the Cave Creek home and that the pair The couple had conflicts over repayment, including a huge explosion during dinner at a local restaurant in January 2020, according to Williamette Week.

The news agency also reported that Maricopa detectives executed a search warrant at the Cave Creek home looking for “any container that may contain trace evidence such as solids, liquids, powders, which may contain substances.” poison, especially thallium” and “any item of personal property belonging to the suspect, Ronald Smith. ”

Marini, Gilliam’s primary caregiver in the months between the first and second poisonings, recently told Williamette Week that Gilliam’s sister and guardian, Felicia Capps, would not let her visit him because she was identified as a person of interest.


Olivia’s hair could help reveal who poisoned her father, Joe Gilliam.

Liv Scott Gilliam

Olivia said that one night, between the first and second times her father was poisoned with Thallium, she stayed with him at his home on Lake Oswego, where her father asked her to take a sip of the iced tea he gave her. that “tastes weird”.

“I remember telling him it tasted a bit metallic,” said Olivia. “He and I were very sick that night. I was nauseous, dizzy and exhausted. I just feel down.”

She then began to lose clumps of her hair and experience paranoia, which is a side effect of Thallium poisoning. Olivia said her father had similar symptoms, but experienced them “on a larger scale”. At the time, she believed she was experiencing stress and anxiety about what her father went through, as well as dealing with a host of other tragedies in the family, Olivia said. In the sixth month between the two poisonings, Gilliam’s father and two brothers died.

After telling the FBI this story, she said, they took strands of her hair in January to examine and see if they could help narrow down a prime suspect.

“When we found out my dad had botulism the second time he went to the hospital, I started to think maybe it wasn’t just stress,” she said. “And the FBI has every reason and reason possible to send agents to check my hair.”

When the FBI crime lab sorted what, if anything, was in Olivia’s hair, there was a fourth person of interest, who was even closer to Gilliam than Marini, Mooney, and Smith, which brought it to life. further tamper with the suspect file. In October, a Clackamas County Judge ordered the removal of Count “Joey” Gilliam III, Gilliam’s only son from his first marriage, by order of the long-term care facility where his father was living. live.

A court investigation into Joey’s fitness to care for his father alleges that he was unconcerned with Gilliam’s interest and withdrew a total of about $350,000 from his father’s bank account. he. The custody filing also includes a letter dated July 19, 2021 from a Lake Oswego Police detective supporting Sheriff Maricopa’s investigation that reads, “I have confirmed that Count” Joey “Gilliam” III is the suspect / person with an interest” in the poisoning of his father. “Joey is also the subject of an active investigation into Gilliam’s misappropriation of property,” the letter read.

Joey declined to comment for this story. In a court affidavit dated September 15, 2021, Joey asserted he did “absolutely NOTHING illegal.” Joey also noted that he asked detectives to start an investigation into his father’s poisoning. “I was the one who flew to Arizona and sat in the parking lot for three hours trying to convince the Maricopa County police that this was not an accident,” Joey wrote.

The whole ordeal has torn her family apart, says Olivia. “All I want is for my dad to come back one day and he has justice,” she said. “I want to see the guy who did this get out of prison for doing this to our family.” Joe Gilliam, Oregon, Double Poisoned Father, turns 60 Friday at Vancouver Hospital, Washington


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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