Husband of Woman Who Mistakenly Invited Teen to Thanksgiving Dies of COVID-19

Wanda and Lonnie Dench standing next to Jamal Hinton and Mikaela

By Jessica Swarner

April 10, 2020

The Arizona woman garnered social media fame in 2016 when she accidentally invited 17-year-old Jamal Hinton to her home for the holiday.

Lonnie Dench, the husband of the woman who accidentally invited 17-year-old Jamal Hinton to Thanksgiving dinner in 2016, died Sunday from complications related to COVID-19. 

About three and a half years ago, Wanda Dench sent out a text message to her family members inviting them to Thanksgiving dinner. But one of those numbers was wrong, and she ended up sending an accidental invite to Hinton. When he jokingly said he would still come, Wanda Dench said the invitation stood. 

The story of the new friends’ bond became national news. Hinton became a regular Thanksgiving guest at the Denches’, and many people looked forward to seeing photos of them together each year. Last year, Hinton and his girlfriend Mikaela had the Denches over to their home for the holiday. 

Hinton had tweeted earlier this month that Lonnie Dench was fighting pneumonia and the coronavirus. 

“As some of you may have already found out tonight Lonnie did not make it … he passed away Sunday morning,” Hinton tweeted Wednesday. “But Wanda told me all the love and support he was receiving put a huge smile on his face so I thank every single one of you guys for that!”

Hinton has also said Wanda Dench was sick with COVID-19, but she later clarified she had not been tested for the disease, according to NBC News

This story originally appeared on Copper Courier.


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