Prosecution VS Defense

911 Call

Prosecutors alleged that Ryan staged his call to 911. They said he was too calm and gave too much information to the dispatcher. 

The director of the Warren County Communications Center resigned shortly after an independent investigation was completed. County officials revealed that the dispatcher "came out of a sound sleep and wasn't making much sense when he answered the 911 call of Ryan Widmer reporting his wife Sarah's drowning in their bathtub." -The Columbus Dispatch

Wet VS Dry

Ryan pulled the drain immediately upon finding Sarah in the bathtub. The water drained completely before he was instructed to move her to the floor. Magazines that were on the bathroom floor were wet as well as the carpet in the master bedroom. Although the prosecutors alleged the carpet samples taken from the house that night were dry, a forensic expert testified that the carpet was so wet it broke through the paper bag it was in.

Annette Davis, a forensic scientist who testified for the prosecution, testified that when the carpet samples were packaged in brown paper bags they must have been wet since there was water damage to the bags. The blood stain had also soaked through to the back of the carpet which proves there was water mixed with it.

Fingerprints & Streaks

Latent fingerprints and streaks on the bathtub were used to imply that Ryan drowned Sarah in the tub.  

Experts testified that there was no way to determine who made the fingerprints and streaks in the tub or how long they were there. This evidence has been called "junk science" by many in the forensic field since there in no way of determining the forensic value.

Injuries to Sarah

Sarah had bruising on her chest, neck and head. Witnesses for the prosecution testified that the bruises were not consistent with CPR and life saving measures. EMTs performed CPR on Sarah for over 45 minutes and attempted intubation 5 times.  They also inserted an I.V. in her neck after failing to place one in her arm.  

Dr. David Smile, a board certified emergency medical doctor testified that he was “surprised that there was not more evidence of injury on the body” from resuscitation attempts. Dr. Werner Spitz described how bruising can be exacerbated due to water in the body. According to Spitz, injuries in drowning victims are magnified because of the increase in hemoglobin from red blood cells bursting. 

Sarah had no defensive injuries, her well manicured fingernails and toenails were not broken and she did not have Ryan's DNA underneath them.

Ryan also did not have any marks on his body. He was only in his boxers when police and EMT's arrived and they all testified that they did not see any marks on him.

Perfectly Healthy People Don't Die

People have a hard time believing that a seemingly healthy 24 year old woman could pass away for unknown reasons. 

Dr. Spitz and Dr. Smile both mentioned sudden death sydrome in their testimony. Every year there are around 300,000 deaths related to sudden death syndrome in the United States. Dr. Smile testified that two to three people die in each state, every month, with no obvious cause of death. In some of the 300,000 annual cases the deceased has a normal autopsy and the cause of death is not apparent. 

What They Didn't Have

The prosecutors never provided a motive, Ryan & Sarah did not have financial issues, there was no life insurance involved, neither of them were having an affair and prosecutors couldn't even determine the exact way they thought Ryan did it. Ryan & Sarah's friends and co-workers testified that they were a happy couple who were completely in love.