Former paramedic, accused of killing wife with eyedrops, facing arson charges

Joshua Hunsucker, awaiting trial on suspicion of poisoning and killing his wife with eyedrops, is now accused of setting a fire inside a helicopter while in flight.

The Eye Drop Homicide
The Eye Drop Homicide 42:00

A North Carolina man awaiting trial on suspicion of poisoning and killing his wife with eyedrops is now facing arson charges in a separate case. Online records show that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Joshua Hunsucker Monday on felony charges.  

The former flight paramedic is accused of intentionally setting medical equipment on fire inside the helicopter while in flight, according to the police report. The report also says the helicopter was forced to land. 

CBS affiliate WBTV, which reported on that incident in 2019, said no one was injured. The incident happened less than a month before Hunsucker's December 19, 2019, arrest on a murder charge in his wife's death.  

Joshua and Stacy Hunsucker had been married for eight years before her death from an apparent heart attack. The mother of two suffered from heart problems and had a pacemaker.  

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Stacy Hunsucker, a young mother of two, was found dead by her husband Joshua. STACY HUNSUCKER/FACEBOOK

But there were red flags — and Hunsucker's actions after his wife's death raised eyebrows. A babysitter, who looked after the couple's children after Stacy's death, says Hunsucker was dating a coworker. 

"I never saw him sad, ever," Kailyn MacDonald told "48 Hours'" Peter Van Sant. "He was happy with his new girlfriend — very happy."  

Another flag was when Stacy's mother, Suzie Robinson, learned her then-son-in-law had started the process of collecting $250,000 in two life insurance policies — mere days after Stacy's death.  

Robinson notified the North Carolina Department of Insurance.   

"It was referred to our criminal investigations' division," commissioner Mike Causey told Peter Van Sant. "Initial reports from the local police department had it a natural death, heart attack."  

But Stacy's body was cremated at the request of her husband. There had been no autopsy, but investigators soon had a break in the case.  

Stacy had been an organ donor and a vial of blood had been collected and stored before she was cremated. That blood was sent out for a toxicology screening, and investigators found the presence of a chemical: tetrahydrozoline.  

Commonly found in eyedrops, forensic toxicologist Demi Garvin was aware of the many ways tetrahydrozoline, also known as THZ, could be abused. 

"We refer to this drug as a modern-day Mickey Finn," Garvin told Van Sant. "Where a substance is introduced into a beverage without the consent of the individual who's going to consume it for purposes of incapacitating them." 

Their symptoms, which include vomiting, reduced heart rate, and dizziness — mimic natural illness and labs do not routinely screen for them. So, experts fear similar poisonings may be going undetected. 

"48 Hours" reported on what may be a similar case involving Lana and Steve Clayton in "The Eye Drop Homicide," which highlighted Stacy Hunsucker's death.  

Joshua Hunsucker is still awaiting a trial date in the death of his wife. His attorney says his client is innocent and the allegations will be strenuously opposed.