Arizona police are now conducting an investigation into a woman who claimed she gave her husband fish tank cleaner after President Trump claimed the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment for coronavirus.
Wanda Lenius told NBC News last month that she and her husband Gary consumed fish tank cleaner because it contained a chemical that Trump suggested might be an effective prophylactic and treatment for coronavirus. The cocktail, which contained four teaspoons of fish tank cleaner mixed with soda water, put Wanda in the ICU and killed Gary. “My advice,” Wanda explained, is “don’t believe anything that the President says and his people because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
The Washington Free Beacon, which first reported that Wanda was a “prolific” Democratic donor and that she had a troubling relationship with her husband that included a previous domestic assault charge, revealed Tuesday night that Mesa City Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation into the death of Gary, and requested recordings of the Free Beacon’s interviews with Wanda.
“As this is an active investigation, I cannot go into any details at this time regarding the case,” homicide detective Teresa Van Galder told the Free Beacon. Detective Jason Flam then told local outlet ABC15 that “it is normal protocol at the Mesa Police Department for all death cases (other than obvious natural causes) to be investigated.”
“All death cases are assigned to a homicide detective for their review as a matter of protocol,” Flam said. “Please do not confuse this fact with what is currently being reported that this case is now a homicide investigation.”
In an interview, Wanda Lenius told the outlet that her decision to drink the cleaner with her husband was “a spur of the moment thing,” and that they ingested “one teaspoon and some soda” each — at least four times the lethal limit.
The Beacon also reported that friends of the deceased man were skeptical that he would knowingly consume fish-tank 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 of his close friends told the Washington Free Beacon. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Whether hydroxychloroquine is an effective coronavirus treatment has not been clinically determined. Nevertheless, the drug has become a partisan issue. Last week, Michigan Democrats said that they would censure a state Democrat who met with Trump earlier this month to thank him, after she said her life was saved by a hydroxychloroquine treatment. But the FDA recently warned against the use of the drug to treat COVID-19, citing the risk of heart-rhythm problems, and hospital demand for the drug has declined.
Editor’s Note: The headline and story of this piece have been updated with additional comments from the Mesa Police Department clarifying the status of this investigation.