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Gaston County Man Charged With Killing Wife With Eye Drops

Gaston County Sheriff's Office

A Gaston County man faces a first-degree murder charge in the 2018 death of his wife – who state investigators allege was poisoned with eye drops.

Joshua Lee Hunsucker, 35, was arrested Thursday. He remained in the Gaston County jail Sunday on a $1.5 million bond. The Mount Holly man, a paramedic, is accused of killing 32-year-old Stacy Hunsucker Sept. 23, 2018, and collecting about $250,000 on her life insurance policies, according to The Gaston Gazette.

An attorney with a N.C. Department of Insurance investigative unit said in court Thursday that 30-40 times an acceptable level of tetrahydrozoline, which is used in over-the-counter eyedrops, was found in a sample of Stacy Hunsucker's blood that was preserved because she was an organ donor.

The substance can cause heart failure if ingested in large quantities. Apparently no autopsy was performed when Stacy Hunsucker died. 

"We have probable cause (Joshua Hunsucker) is the one who poisoned Mrs. Hunsucker with Visine or a similar product and caused her death," Department of Insurance attorney Jordan Green said in court.

Stacy Hunsucker's death was initially attributed to natural causes. Investigators ruled out suicide, according to WBTV.

The homicide case is not the first in the Charlotte area to involve tetrahydrozoline. In 2018, a York County, South Carolina, woman, Lana Sue Clayton, was accused of fatally poisoning her husband with the substance, according to the Rock Hill Herald.

The Hunsuckers had two children, according to Stacy Hunsucker's obituary.

Joshua Hunsucker's next court appearance is in January.

Dash joined WFAE as a digital editor for news and engagement in 2019. Before that, he was a reporter for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia, where he covered public safety and the military, among other topics. He also covered county government in Gaston County, North Carolina, for its local newspaper, the Gazette.