Family Crimes

Woman Accused of Killing Her Husband Using Eye Drops

Lana Clayton, who was described by friends as "a sweet lady," admitted to putting the toxic eye drops in her husband's water over several days in July, police said.

A woman is being accused of using a chemical found in eye drops to murder her husband.

York County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Lana Sue Clayton, 52, in connection with the July 21 death of her husband after detectives say she admitted to putting Tetrahydrozoline, a chemical often found in eye drops, in Stephen Clayton's water without his knowledge.

"We don't have a clear cut reason why she committed the crime that she did," Trent Faris of York County Sheriff's Office told ABC News.

Police say Lana Clayton tampered with her husband's food between the days of July 19 and July 21, ultimately causing the 64-year-old to die. His body was found in the foyer of the couple's upscale home, located on the South Carolina shore of Lake Wylie, after it appeared he had fallen down the stairs, The Herald reported.

The poisoning wasn't discovered until an autopsy revealed "poisonous levels" of Tetrahydrozoline in the victim's body, police said.

Stephen Clayton had reportedly retired to the Lake Wylie area after starting and operating a company called Physical Therapy Resources. He had restored his home, which The Herald had reported was valued at $822,000 according to county records, as a copy of George Washingon's historical Mount Vernon estate.

Friends in the community were shocked to learn of Lana Clayton's arrest. Ken Sanford, a friend who knew them both, told The Herald Lana Clayton seemed "like a sweet lady."

Her husband, he said, was very proud of her accomplishments.

Those who knew Stephen Clayton described the former wrestling coach and mentor to children as extremely generous. Frank Keefe, who owns a bagel store in Lake Wylie, said Clayton had been loved by all.

"I am absolutely in a state of shock," he told the paper.

After his death, neighbors said his funeral had been held in the backyard of his home, according to WSOC.

Stephen Clayton's family is still trying to process his death and the latest charges, according to a statement they gave to WSOC.

"The family is shocked and mortified at the cause of Steven's death," it read. "All of our family and friends know how much he loved his wife, Lana, and how devoted he was to her."

According to jail records, Lana Clayton is being held at the York County Detention Center. She has been charged with murder and malicious tampering with drug product or food.

[Photo: York County Detention Center]

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