Who was Karen Silkwood?
Many people believe that she was murdered. Let’s look at her background first. She began working at an Oklahoma chemical plant in 1972. The facility was responsible for producing plutonium pellets for use in nuclear reactors. Yes, frightening.
As did her colleagues, she joined the union and became concerned about the levels of safety for the workers employed in the factory who were exposed to dangerous chemicals.
She became very vocal in her condemnation of the chemical plant and its low standards. As part of her union role, she compiled details of lax standards and employee contaminations.
She died at the age of twenty-eight in a mysterious car accident. Or was it an accident?
On November 13th, 1974, she intended to meet a journalist from the New York Times to show him the dossier of facts and figures she had collected.
Prior to leaving for the meeting she visited a local Oklahoma Café, the Hub. Witnesses claimed that they saw her place the one inch thick dossier on the passenger seat of her car as she set off.
Ten minutes later, her car crashed into a culvert and Karen was killed. There were no witnesses to the accident and no other vehicle involved – supposedly.
When she was found, the dossier was not in the car
It was never seen again. There were other strange factors regarding the accident.
- The impact had been entirely to the front of the car when it hit the culvert. Yet there were marks on the rear of the car which, according to her friends, had not been there previously. These suggested that the car had deliberately been run off the road
- It was said that she had a large dose of sedatives in her bloodstream and that she had fallen asleep at the wheel. But there were skid marks on the road suggesting that the car had braked severely to avoid the accident. Karen could not have applied the brakes if she was asleep
- Was it likely that a woman who was heading towards such an important meeting would take such a high level of sedatives? Wouldn’t she have wanted to keep her mind completely clear?
- Could the sedatives been introduced into a drink she had at the café before leaving for the meeting?
- The company was sued for damages by Karen’s family because shortly before her accident she had been contaminated herself. One witness who was due to give evidence against the company committed suicide shortly before she was expected to testify
- An autopsy showed that Karen had indeed a high level of plutonium in her body. To many, this suggests that she was completely correct in her findings regarding lack of health and safety measures. The firm’s attorneys said that it was likely that she had contaminated herself to further her cause
- The family’s legal team received death threats because of their involvement in the case
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