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‘They seemed to have it all’: York Co. poisoning murder case captures national attention

Friends of poisoned Lake Wylie man said his wife — the suspect in his death — seemed quiet, reserved

The death of Steven Clayton has brought national attention to York County after police arrested and charged his wife Lana Clayton in his death. A crew from Inside Edition spoke with Steven Clayton's colleagues in Lake Wylie on Wednesday.
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The death of Steven Clayton has brought national attention to York County after police arrested and charged his wife Lana Clayton in his death. A crew from Inside Edition spoke with Steven Clayton's colleagues in Lake Wylie on Wednesday.

The death of a Lake Wylie man has brought national attention to York County after police arrested his wife, Lana Clayton, and charged her with his death by poison.

Since The Herald first reported the story Friday after Lana Clayton, 52, was charged with murder and malicious tampering of food in the death of her husband Steven Clayton., news outlets from across the country have picked up the story, referencing Herald reporting.

Inside Edition interviewed several of Steven Clayton’s friends Wednesday in Lake Wylie, and Good Morning America ran segments Monday and Wednesday.

Washington Post, Jezebel and even the BBC also posted articles about the murder charges.

Frank Keefe of Lake Wylie told The Herald on Friday he was shocked by the charges. He said Wednesday, while meeting with Inside Edition, he had also been shocked by Clayton’s death July 21 at just 64 years old.

Keefe knew Steven Clayton through Clayton’s time volunteering on the Lake Wylie Pilot editorial board, which met weekly at his restaurant until the McClatchy paper closed in 2016. Keefe attended Clayton’s Aug. 4 backyard funeral and said he spoke with Lana there.

It was “peaceful” and “beautiful,” he said. Keefe told Inside Edition that Lana Clayton seemed “stoic” at the funeral.

“(He was) well-respected,” Keefe said. “Family loved him. I saw a lot of love, a lot of kindness. There were tears of joy at this event, which just makes it that much more stunning when we received the call saying that the missus poisoned him.”

Lana Clayton confessed to surreptitiously poisoning her husband’s water with a chemical called tetrahydrozoline — commonly found in nasal spray and eye drops — over a three-day period from July 19 to 21 until he died, arrest warrants in the case show.

Keefe said he’s not sure why the story has picked up national attention.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “Perhaps it’s the idea that someone used a chemical from eye drops or nasal spray, maybe that’s what makes it so unique. Other than that I simply don’t know.

“I mean, I will say that by outward appearances they seemed to have it all.”

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot
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