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Ryan and Sarah - what the Prosecution doesn't want you to know.

Ryan and Sarah Widmer Ryan Widmer, a 27 year old man, was charged with murder just 2 days after he found his wife unresponsive in their bathtub, on August 11, 2008. Ryan was downstairs watching TV, when his wife of only 114 days kissed him goodnight and told him she was going upstairs to take a bath. This was part of Sarah Widmer’s regular routine as she loved to take long baths. Ryan went upstairs about ½ hour to 45 minutes later to walk into their bathroom and find Sarah unresponsive in the tub. Ryan tried as best he could to perform CPR. The 911 operator didn’t provide any help whatsoever.

Ryan and Sarah Widmer Wedding Dance

 

After 45 minutes to 1 hour of rigorous CPR and 5 intubation attempts they transported Sarah to the hospital and she was pronounced dead. There were no signs of struggle, no prior history of relationship issues, etc. However, Sarah had not been feeling well the entire day and had a bad headache. She was also known by family and friends to easily fall asleep and had actually fallen asleep in the tub numerous times, even before she met Ryan (as stated by Sarah’s brother). An expert at the trial spoke that in the U.S. every year about 300,000 people under the age of 35 die and that these people’s autopsies do not show any sign of what they died from - a staggering statistic.
Continue Reading Ryan and Sarah's Story

Different Testimony in 3 Trials...

Prosecution

Defense

1. Prosecutors claim Ryan held Sarah by the neck and forcibly drowned her during an altercation and cleaned up the scene before calling 911.

1. Neither Ryan nor Sarah had any marks or wounds on their bodies and there were no signs of a struggle. A search of the house showed no evidence of a cleanup. Sarah's French Manicure and Pedicure were still perfect.

2. Because of the two blood spots on the carpet, prosecutors said Ryan moved Sarah's body before calling 911.

2. Officer Bishop testified he might have helped Ryan move Sarah's body from the bathroom doorway into the bedroom. (1st Trial) He couldn't remember if he helped move Sarah. (2nd Trial) He "absolutely did not" help Ryan move her body. (3rd Trial).

3. Ryan allegedly confessed to Jennifer Crew that he punched Sarah in the chest during an argument and then blacked out. When he came to, she was laying dead on the bathroom floor. He said he forgot to clean up the spilled waste basket in the bathroom.

3. Jennifer Crew has a criminal record and is a recovering drug addict now on methadone, who saw Ryan's story on Dateline. Most of her testimony, word for word, was from the Dateline program. Officer Bishop dumped the bathroom trash can looking for illegal drugs. (1st & 2nd trial) He didn’t remember dumping it, but agreed that he's been blamed for it. (3rd Trial).

4. The lead detective (Braley) and the coroner's investigator were present during the autopsy and discussed with the coroner what the manner of death might be. Det. Braley gathered evidence and dusted the tub for fingerprints claiming streaks on the tub showed signs of Sarah trying to save herself.

4. The coroner was criticized in another trial for allowing investigating officers to name the manner of death. Braley was not a trained evidence technician and criminalist Wm. Hilliard said none of the fingerprints were of any value. He couldn't tell who they belonged to or when they were put on the tub. Braley was forced to resign when it was verified that he lied on his employment application and didn't have the training or experience that he claimed.

5. First responders testified that Sarah's body, the tub, towels, clothing, magazines, floor, etc. were all dry.

5. Officers and EMTs wore gloves when feeling for wetness. Signs of water in the tub included droplets on the drain and a small area of water pooled near the middle of the tub. Some officers admitted they didn't touch anything to feel for wetness. Magazines were crinkled, indicating they had been wet. Two EMTs testified that Sarah's body was moist or not overly wet. Officer Bishop noticed an Ionic Breeze fan knocked over near where Sarah was lying. (1st Trial) The dryer was cold, indicating that it had not been used.

6. Coroner Uptegrove declared Sarah's death a homicide before reading the EMT and ER reports, and without talking to Ryan or Sarah's mother about any health issues.

6. The coroner spoke briefly with Sarah's mother after Ryan had already been charged, arrested and arraigned. He never did speak to Ryan and was not told that she frequently fell asleep in the tub. Her mother and brother knew she fell asleep in the tub. There were numerous mistakes on the run report, as well as three different copies.

7. The coroner made his decision based on the bruising on the side and back of her neck. He said there was no evidence of any heart problem or seizure.

7. EMTs tried to intubate Sarah twice in the house, once while the ambulance was in the driveway and two more times while en route to the hospital. An EMT assisted twice by performing the Sellick maneuver. He held Sarah's head and neck firmly while applying pressure at the thyroid cartilage. EMTs worked on Sarah for almost 45 minutes before leaving for the hospital. Doctors testified that 5 intubations would cause neck bruising and in a drowning, the blood is thinner and bruising would spread farther. Forensic pathologist Dr. Balko testified coroner Uptegrove didn't take enough heart or brain tissue samples to verify there was no heart problem or seizure and didn't test for narcolepsy. Coroner Uptegrove has been criticized for taking short cuts and having a coroner's job in three counties.

8. Sarah's mother said Sarah was always healthy, had no history of heart problems and there was no history of heart problems or seizures in the family. She didn't recall Sarah ever falling asleep anywhere.

8. In the 3rd trial, she admitted that Sarah had surgery for a cleft palate and had a heart murmur as an infant. She took Sarah to a pediatric cardiologist but never followed up over the years.

9. In the 2nd trial Sarah's mother said, they're part of a younger generation and talk differently to each other. She said, "They would argue on certain things. They got in an argument on how to hang pictures so they called Sarah's brother to come and hang all the pictures in their house. In the 3rd trial she said they called each other "nasty names".

9. In previous trials she testified that Ryan and Sarah got along well together and they were very happy. They bought a house and moved in together and Ryan became part of their family even before they married. When asked what the "nasty names" were, she couldn't say.

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