Eye drops can be found in most household’s medical cabinets and can be used to treat a variety of optical problems in people young and old, but a North Carolina paramedic is now charged with using the common medication to murder his wife.
Joshua Lee Hunsucker, 35, of Mount Holly, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife of eight years, 32-year-old Stacy Hunsucker. An investigation into her September 2018 death revealed that she was poisoned using a bottle of Visine eye drops in order to collect $250,000 in life insurance, the Gaston Gazette reported.
“We have probable cause he poisoned Mrs. Hunsucker with Visine, which caused her death,” Jordan Green, an attorney with the fraud investigations unit of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, said in court Friday.
Stacy and Joshua had been high school sweethearts, raising two adorable daughters, aged 5 and 6.
Joshua had originally claimed he discovered his wife slumped over, not breathing and blue, at their home Sept. 23, 2018, according to the affidavit, but he gave varying accounts of where in the room he was at the time of her death.
Stacy, who was a teacher at a church preschool, was rushed to the hospital and died soon after. Joshua refused an autopsy, but a sample of her blood was saved as part of her wishes to be an organ donor, according to the affidavit.
While the death was first reported as natural, an investigation into Stacy’s death was launched after her mom, Suzie Robinson, alleged there was insurance fraud and called Stacy’s passing suspicious. She also reportedly believed that Joshua was having an affair before Stacy’s death. Joshua’s coworkers at Atrium Health’s MedCenter Air were also reportedly surprised by how unaffected he seemed by his wife's death and how quickly after Stacy’s passing he started dating a girlfriend, investigators said.
When her blood was tested, investigators said they discovered that it contained tetrahydrozoline, a form of medicine found in over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays. Ingesting that ingredient can have immediate effects.
"You might feel nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, your blood pressure might be lower, your heart rate might speed up or slow down, and if you ingest at a large amount it's possible one might go into a coma," cardiologist Dr. Steven Reisman told Inside Edition.
Stacy's blood was found to contain 30 or 40 times more of the medicine than therapeutic levels, which would have had a “dramatic effect on her heart, which would cause heart stoppage in a short amount of time,” Green said.
Some believe Joshua was inspired by a similar murder case that arose at the time – just 30 miles away from his home near Charlotte. Two weeks before Stacy’s death, a former nurse was accused of killing her multi-millionaire husband with eye drops. Lana Clayton, 52, allegedly confessed to poisoning 62-year-old Stephen Clayton using eye drops.
Joshua maintains his innocence. He is currently booked into Gaston County with a bond set at $1.5 million.
Visine did not immediately respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment.