Gary Lenius, a 68-year-old Arizona man, tragically died March 22 after ingesting fish tank cleaner. Lenius's wife, Wanda, told police that she and her husband mixed the toxic cleaner, which contained chloroquine phosphate, with soda to make a cocktail they thought would stave off the coronavirus.
Wanda, 61, told police she and her husband both ingested 1 teaspoon of the cleaner — four times the lethal dose.
Gary ended up dead, but Wanda only ended up in the intensive care unit.
The story was immediately propelled into the national spotlight because, at the time, President Donald Trump was pushing hydroxychloroquine, a drug commonly used to prevent malaria and treat lupus, as an effective drug in the fight against COVID-19.
In speaking to NBC News, Wanda said she and her husband ingested the cleaner because Trump praised chloroquine.
👉Her husband is dead & she's in the ICU after ingesting chloroquine: "We saw Trump on TV -- every channel -- & all… https://t.co/7Ng7DVNdf0— Heidi Przybyla (@Heidi Przybyla) 1585007657.0
The story was immediately condemned on social media because it conflated the safe drug being touted by Trump with toxic fish tank cleaner. Still, others saw the story as evidence that Trump's rhetoric was endangering lives.
It turns out Trump may have just been a scapegoat for ole' Wanda.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Mesa City Police Department in Arizona is now investigating Gary's death as a homicide — and his widowed wife is the prime suspect.
"As this is an active investigation, I cannot go into any details at this time regarding the case," Detective Teresa Van Galder told the Free Beacon.
Indeed, while Gary's tragic death was exploited by the media to assail Trump, Gary's friends knew something did not add up.
The Free Beacon spoke with his friends. They painted Gary as an intelligence man, a retired engineer, who would not willingly ingest dangerous cleaner.
"What bothers me about this is that Gary was a very intelligent man, a retired [mechanical] engineer who designed systems for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa, and I really can't see the scenario where Gary would say, 'Yes, please, I would love to drink some of that Koi fish tank cleaner,'" one close friend told the Free Beacon.
"It just doesn't make any sense," the friend said.
According to friends, Wanda had a pattern of belittling her husband in public. She was once even charged with domestic abuse for hitting Gary. But he testified that he was neither injured nor did he fear for his life, leading to Wanda's exoneration.
"Gary loved Wanda," another friend of Gary's told the Free Beacon. "He trusted her to do the right thing for him, I doubt that he second-guessed when she gave him the chloroquine.