News & Politics

Police Investigating Death of Man Whose Wife Said She Gave Him Aquarium Cleaner Because Trump Said It Cured Coronavirus

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Last week, Alana Goodman at the Washington Free Beacon followed up on the story of Gary Lenius, the Arizona man whose death from chloroquine phosphate poisoning made national news. His wife Wanda claimed they both ingested aquarium cleaner because they heard Trump mention chloroquine — the drug, not the stuff used to clean fish tanks — during one of his briefings on COVID-19 the Chinese virus. And that’s all Wanda needed to say in order for 99% of the American news media to treat the story with complete credulity. They saw a way to blame Trump for someone’s death, and they ran with it.

But is it true? Is that how it happened?

Goodman talked to Mr. Lenius’s friends, who said it was “wildly out of character” for him to do that. In addition, Mrs. Lenius was charged with assaulting her husband shortly after they were married in 2000, and later she sued the John Deere company, her former employer, claiming the “gender and age discrimination” she experienced there gave her such severe PTSD that it could be triggered by the mere sight of a John Deere sign. Something stinks about the whole thing, and it’s not just the guppies in the Lenius family’s fish tank.

Now Goodman has a follow-up at the Beacon:

The Mesa City Police Department’s homicide division is investigating the death of Gary Lenius, the Arizona man whose wife served him soda mixed with fish tank cleaner in what she claimed was a bid to fend off the coronavirus. A detective handling the case confirmed the investigation to the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday after requesting a recording of the Free Beacon’s interviews with Lenius’s wife, Wanda…

Detective Teresa Van Galder, the homicide detective handling the case for the Mesa City Police Department, confirmed that the investigation is ongoing but declined to provide additional details.

“As this is an active investigation, I cannot go into any details at this time regarding the case,” Van Galder said.

That makes sense. I’m just glad this is being investigated. If it turns out there’s no evidence of a crime, so be it. But Gary Lenius isn’t here to defend himself, and a lot of people assume he was some sort of moron who ate poison because he thought Trump told him to. If you’re not skeptical about that, I can’t make you more curious. But you can’t make me less curious.

Just because a story confirms your biases, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

Most of the press dropped this story the second they realized it wasn’t a good weapon against the latest Republican in the White House. Kudos to Alana Goodman and the Washington Free Beacon for doing a job most Americans refuse to bother with anymore: journalism.