Lana Clayton, a Clover, South Carolina VA nurse, is accused of poisoning her entrepreneur and wrestling coach husband in their luxury waterfront home, and it’s alleged she did so with eye drops.
According to a press release from the York County Sheriff’s Department, authorities have arrested Lana Sue Clayton, 52, in the death of her husband Steven Delvalle Clayton on August 31, 2018. (Authorities gave his name as Stephen Clayton, but his obituary gives it as Steven. Her full name is Lana Sue Clayton.)
Clayton’s body was discovered in the home’s foyer, and it was initially believed he had fallen down the stairs, according to Herald Online, which added that Steven Clayton was a newspaper editorial board member who founded a company called Physical Therapy Resources.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Accuse Lana Sue Clayton of Poisoning Her Husband With Tetrahydrozoline
Steven Clayton died on on July 21, 2018, from poisoning, authorities allege. “The incident took place at the victim and suspects home 4586 Island Forks Road, Clover, SC. The investigation autopsy toxicology tests discovered poisonous levels of Tetrahydrozoline in the body of the victim,” the York County Sheriff’s Department says.
According to the York County press release, “York County Detectives arrested and charged Lana Sue Clayton with Murder and Unlawful Malicious Tampering of Food of her husband Stephen Delvalle Clayton between the dates of July 19 to 21, 2018.”
The release added, “Lana Clayton admitted to investigators she administered the substance to Stephen Clayton without his knowledge. Lana Clayton was booked in the York County Detention Center. This case remains under investigation.”
The booking information for Lana Sue Clayton describes her as a white female from Clover, South Carolina, who stands 5 foot 2 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. She was booked in the jail at 4:20 p.m. on August 31, 2018. Two charges are listed: Murder and Malicious Tampering With Drug Product Or Food.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Tetrahydrozoline is a form of a medicine called imidazoline, which is found in over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays. Tetrahydrozoline poisoning occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally swallows this product.”
2. The Couple Lived in a Nearly Million-Dollar Home Modeled After Mount Vernon
Online property sites say the couple’s home is worth more than or close to $1 million. One site described the house as a “Newly built, 1840s-style Greek Revival home sits on 2 acres of prime lakefront.”
According to Herald Online, the mansion was “a copy of the famous George Washington Mount Vernon estate that Steve Clayton lovingly restored.” You can see photos of the home here.
3. Lana Clayton Worked as a Nurse at the VA & a Facebook Post Indicates Trouble in a Marriage
Both Clayton and her husband had successful careers.
Herald Online reports that Lana Clayton worked as a nurse at the VA in Charlotta, North Carolina. On her Facebook page, Lana says she worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in North Carolina. She indicated that she is from Oklahoma.
Ken Sanford, a friend who knew the couple, told Herald Online that he thought Lana Sue Clayton was “a sweet lady” and is shocked by the news.
A Facebook post on Lana’s page points to old trouble in a marriage. It dates to 2010, and reads, “Sorry guys. My sister just upset for me. My husband is not a drunk he had an affair. However, he is the father of my children and my kids look at my facebook. soooo . I do appreciate the support though.”
Lana and Steven were married eight years, Daily Mail reports, so it’s not clear whether the husband she was referring to in the post was Steven.
Another post around that time reads, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming to the lord, ‘WOW, What a ride!'”
She posted photos of her grandchildren on social media.
4. Clayton’s Husband Was an Accountant Who Built Companies From ‘Humble Beginnings’
Steven D. Clayton, age 64, is formerly of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and passed away at home, his obituary says.
“He was a graduate of Miami Military Academy and Miami Springs Senior High School, where he was a celebrated athlete in Track, Football, and Greco-Roman wrestling,” the obituary says. “He worked his way through college as a construction laborer/plasterer. He received his BS from Florida State University (’76) and was a Certified Public Accountant who was greatly admired by his colleagues.”
The obituary says that Steve Clayton overcame “childhood hardships and adversity” and had an “indomitable spirit.”
“He was an entrepreneur, a visionary, and a brilliant business strategist who had a passion for learning and critical thinking. He continuously challenged himself to greater levels of success, while helping others along,” the obit says. “Steven was truly a magnanimous man and his broad circle of friends was infinitely diverse. He enjoyed spending time in the company of gardeners and janitors, as much as he did with captains of industry and finance moguls. He had no mere acquaintances, as everyone he befriended became part of his enormous, extended family.”
The obituary said that Clayton “was genuinely a kid at heart; energetic, fun and always ready to lead the next adventure. His exuberance for life, his captivating stories and his irreverent sense of humor will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Steven was also an aficionado of music, wine and cigars; a brilliant writer; a collector of fine art and sculpture; an avid golfer, and a true sports fan. He was a proud booster of FSU football, generously supporting his much-loved Seminoles throughout the decades.”
Clayton had worked as a wrestling coach “at University of S. Florida in Tampa, American Heritage Academy, and Cardinal Gibbons. He was a loving mentor to countless youth, devotedly following each of their journeys into adulthood and remaining in close contact. Virtually all of the youth who were mentored by Steven have gone on to become highly successful in their chosen fields,” says the obit.
The obituary says that Clayton was survived by his wife Lana Sue Clayton, two stepchildren, grandchildren, and other family members.
5. The Motive Is Not Clear & Lana Clayton Has No Criminal History
What could lead a wife to allegedly take such a deadly action? Authorities aren’t saying; they have yet to release a motive.
According to Herald Online, Lana Sue Clayton appears to have no prior criminal history in South Carolina.