POLICE are investigating the death of an engineer who died after mistakenly drinking fish tank cleaner thinking it would prevent the coronavirus.
Gary Lenius, 68, died on March 22 after both he and his wife Wanda, 61, drank chloroquine phosphate after President Donald Trump touted the ingredient as a way to fend off the virus at a White House press briefing.
Detective Teresa Van Galder confirmed the investigation to the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday after the Mesa City Police Department requested a recording of the Beacon's interview with Wanda.
The police probe comes after a series of stories by the news outlet raised questions about the portrayal of the Arizona couple in a March 23 NBC News report on Gary's death.
Although NBC's report suggested that the couple mindlessly followed Trump's medical advice with fatal results, Gary's friends remembered him as a "intelligent" man who wouldn't do something so reckless.
They described a troubled marriage, one that included a 2001 domestic assault charge against Wanda (of which she was ultimately found not guilty).
"Gary was a very intelligent man, a retired [mechanical] engineer who designed systems for John Deere in Waterloo, Iowa," a close friend told the Free Beacon.
"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. It just doesn't make any sense."
Wanda previously told the Free Beacon that she and Gary had taken the toxic substance after seeing Trump tout the benefits of chloroquine on the news, citing early studies that showed it could be a promising treatment for COVID-19.
Gary had been planning to schedule a doctor's appointment for a leg injury, and he was worried about contracting the virus at the clinic.
That's when Wanda reached for the chloroquine phosphate in her pantry, to which she said Gary replied: "Is it still good?"
Their decision to take the toxin was a "spur of the moment thing", Wanda claimed.
She added that they drank "one teaspoon and some soda" each – at least four times the lethal limit.
Wanda has blamed the president for Gary's death, claiming that he said "it was basically pretty much a cure."
Medical experts have stressed there's no proof that chloroquine kills the coronavirus, despite Trump touting hydroxychloroquine as a virus cure in late March.
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