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Police open homicide probe into death of man whose wife gave him fish tank cleaner, blamed Trump

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The Mesa City, Ariz., Police Department has launched a homicide investigation into the death of Gary Lenius, the man whose wife gave him a drink laced with fish tank cleaner allegedly to ward off COVID-19.

The investigation, which was confirmed by the Washington Free Beacon, is being handled by Det. Teresa Van Galder, who could not provide any details at the moment because it’s an active case.

The news site also reported that it provided a recording of its interview with Wanda Lenius, 61, from March.

You may recall the story.

Gary Lenius, 68, died March 22 after ingesting a substance that is used to clean fish tanks. The cleaner was given to him by wife Wanda, ostensibly to keep coronavirus at bay after hearing President Donald Trump discuss one of its ingredients, chloroquine phosphate.

The “mainstream media” instantly picked up on the story because of the Trump angle. NBC News reported, for instance:

The man’s wife told NBC News she’d watched televised briefings during which President Trump talked about the potential benefits of chloroquine. Even though no drugs are approved to prevent or treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, some early research suggests it may be useful as a therapy.

“I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?” Wanda Lenius told the network. “We were afraid of getting sick.”

Media Leftists pounced on the incident to ensure that the president got all the blame.

But the Free Beacon noted that the story of what allegedly happened did not match the couple’s actions:

Though that report and others suggested the couple mindlessly followed the president’s medical advice to disastrous results, friends of Gary Lenius told the Free Beacon they were skeptical he would knowingly ingest fish tank treatment.

Rather, they described Lenius as a levelheaded retired engineer and recounted a troubled marital relationship that included a previous domestic assault charge against his wife, of which she was ultimately found not guilty. The Free Beacon also reported that Wanda Lenius was a Democratic donor whose most recent contribution went to a “pro-science” super PAC.

“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,’” a close friend told the news site. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

And, come to find out, Wanda Lenius is a “prolific” donor to Democrats and their causes.

According to the Free Beacon’s investigation of the incident, other friends made observations about the couple that seemed to undermine Wanda Lenius’ narrative.

Another friend of the couple noted that she “would constantly berate Gary in public… Everyone was embarrassed for him, but he outwardly did not seem to care much.”

“In our opinion, their marriage was seen outwardly to be as one-sided as a marriage possibly could be: Gary worshiped Wanda,” the person noted, adding that the wife “would routinely call him a doofus” in public.

Moreover, she was charged with domestic abuse and assault in 2001 after she allegedly hit husband Gary and swung at him with a mounted birdhouse. Gary did not cooperate with police during the subsequent investigation; Wanda was never convicted.

As to the lethal drink, another friend told the news site that Wanda often prepared a “vitamin cocktail” for Gary.

Last month in an interview with the Free Beacon, Wanda said of the incident, “We weren’t big supporters of [Trump], but we did see that they were using it in China and stuff. And we just made a horrible, tragic mistake.”

Jon Dougherty


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