Even More Questions Raised About Case of the Man Who Died From Fish Tank Cleaner

(AP Photo/Thomas Peipert, File)
AP featured image
FILE – In this April, 12, 2017 file photo, broken pipes adorn the fish tank at the Speakeasy Vape Lounge, one of the United States’ only legal pot clubs in Colorado Springs, Colo. Industry advocates say Gov. John Hickenlooper’s June 4, 2018, veto of a bill allowing tasting rooms inside marijuana retailers will ensure that clubs like Speakeasy continue to operate without state regulation. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert, File)

When media first broke the story about man and his wife who allegedly took fish tank cleaner, they painted the couple as under the influence of the president and wrongly influenced because he mentioned the potential of anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

Of course, the story started out as wrong, since President Donald Trump never told anyone to take toxic fish cleaner and was only talking about a drug that has to be prescribed by a doctor.

But as it turned out Wanda Lenius wasn’t a Trump supporter. Indeed, she was actually a Democratic donor who had given money to a “pro-science” resistance group.

Not to mention she had a past history of being charged with domestic abuse assault on her husband shortly after they had been married, although found not guilty.

From Free Beacon:

Seven months after their wedding, the Waterloo Police Department responded to a domestic incident at their home. The couple had gotten into an argument “concerning counseling and a possible divorce” during which Wanda allegedly hit her husband in the chest and swung a mounted birdhouse at him, according to a court affidavit from the responding officer, William Sauerbrei.

The state attorney’s office charged Wanda Lenius with misdemeanor domestic abuse assault. But the couple reconciled and Gary Lenius testified in support of his wife at the trial, saying he was not hurt or put in fear of injury. The judge found Wanda not guilty.

In the verdict, Judge Nathan Callahan wrote that the “911 tape certainly contains sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for [Wanda Lenius’s] arrest, and the observations of the officers were consistent with a finding of probable cause for arrest of the Defendant.” But due to Gary Lenius’s trial testimony, the judge said he was unable to find “proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant either placed her husband in fear, injured him, or that she had the intent to do so.”


Now the Free Beacon has interviewed three friends of the the husband who died, 68 year old Gary Lenius, who describe him as a very intelligent, level-headed engineer and they don’t believe he would have done something so wildly out of character as to take the fish tank cleaner knowingly. Moreover, they describe the marriage as troubled, characterized by Wanda’s “explosive anger.”

“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.” [….]

Those who know Gary Lenius, however, say they are troubled by how he has been portrayed in the media and can’t imagine him agreeing to drink an aquarium treatment. “I would like people to know that Gary was not the fool that some of the media stories and comments are depicting him to be,” said the same friend. “I really don’t think Gary knew what he was taking.”

According to one source, “Wanda would constantly berate Gary in public.” The source claimed, “In our opinion, their marriage was seen outwardly to be as one-sided as a marriage possibly could be: Gary worshiped Wanda,” and said she “would routinely call him a ‘doofus'” and humiliate him in public.


The friend alleged that Wanda destroyed Gary’s model airplane collection when he was late for a meal. and on another occasion the friend said she broke the screen of his laptop because she was angry he’d updated her Windows software.

Wanda allegedly had a history of mental and physical issues as well as at least two lawsuits alleging gender and/or age harassment. In one lawsuit her psychologist alleged she had post-traumatic stress disorder and anger issues due to have experiences with her employer John Deere, where her husband had also worked.

“In the process of externalizing her stress, she remains very angry and full of adrenaline much of the time which has been very hard on her health,” he said in a July 31, 2013, letter. “Anything related to John Deere such as signs, colors, even former friends there can be powerful triggers to flashbacks, causing rage and a desire to attack back.”

Wanda Lenius said during a deposition in the case that she was “furious all the time” and that the stress had taken a toll on her marriage.

“I’m just mad,” she said. “I want my husband to retire even though he doesn’t want to because I do not want to ever hear [those] two words again: ‘John Deere.’ I never want to hear that again in my life when this is over with. Ever. And I am moving as far away as I can get without leaving the United States of America.”


Wanda says she mentioned the “chloroquine phosphate” fish tank cleaner to her husband when the president mentioned chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine and he laughed.

She said she though of it a few days later after Gary hurt his leg riding his dirt bike and was planning on going to the doctor, after they had already decided to isolate.

“I’d already stocked the house with groceries and extra dog food and everything was set. We were ready to self-isolate,” said Wanda. “He didn’t want to tell me that he got hurt bad because he knew I was upset. I didn’t want him to ride a motorcycle, he was 68 and I didn’t want him getting hurt.”

Wanda Lenius said her husband was planning to schedule a doctor’s appointment to have his leg looked at and the couple worried he might pick up coronavirus at the clinic. That’s when, she said, she reached for the fish tank cleaner in her pantry.

Asked if she and Lenius had a conversation about taking the chloroquine at that time, she told the Free Beacon: “No. I mean, it was really kind of a spur of the moment thing,” adding that the couple ingested “one teaspoon and some soda” each—at least four times the lethal limit.

A friend of Lenius’s said that Wanda Lenius “often made a cocktail of vitamins for Gary.”


One of the sources related that Gary had recently started undergoing chelation therapy, as the Free Beacon describes it “a medical procedure that is typically used to treat people who have abnormally high levels of heavy metals in their blood, such as lead, mercury, or arsenic. It is sometimes also used as a homeopathic remedy for heart disease, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.”

This story just keeps unrolling and this is likely not the last we’ll hear of it. Good on the folks at the Free Beacon for doing a real journalistic dive into it, unlike those in media who didn’t question and just pushed the story because they thought it helped their anti-Trump narrative.

Funny side note though, either the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman didn’t read the story and just retweeted it because of the headline and the first paragraph saying the media saw it as a “cautionary tale” for those who listened to the “armchair medical advice” of the president. She didn’t realize apparently that by spreading it around she was actually helping to kill the media narrative.


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