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'Reasonable Doubt' explores Ryan Widmer case, concludes he lied to police

Posted at 12:55 AM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-26 14:47:13-04

CINCINNATI -- Nothing is going to persuade Ayran Widmer that his brother, Ryan, is guilty of murder -- not even the conclusions of investigators he invited to examine the case on national television.

"Reasonable Doubt," one of Investigation Discovery's many true crime programs, aired an in-depth episode Wednesday night exploring the 2008 bathtub drowning death of Ryan Widmer's 24-year-old wife, Sarah Widmer.

After being charged with murder, Ryan Widmer found himself in the unusual position of standing trial for it three times. The first trial delivered a guilty verdict that was later overturned when the state learned some jurors had conducted independent investigations; the second ended in a hung jury; and the third restored his conviction and sentenced him to 15 years to life.

RELATED: Ryan Widmer, convicted of drowning wife in bathtub, loses appeal for fourth trial

Ayran Widmer appeared to hope a fourth shot could be the reversal of fortune his brother needed, but hosts Chris Anderson and Fatima Silva's investigation only uncovered contradictions in Ryan Widmer's narrative of the night Sarah died.

His story, when they interviewed him in prison, was different from the story he had given police the night of his arrest. He claimed he had discovered her face up in the tub but on the 911 call he said face down; when Anderson and Silva pointed out the contradiction, he maintained that she was face up.

He also claimed to have called for emergency services within minutes of finding her body, but first responders who worked that night said Sarah Widmer was dry when they arrived. Seeking to replicate the conditions of that night, Anderson and Silva tested whether three minutes and 30 seconds -- the time between the call and first responders' arrival -- would be enough for a bather's body to completely dry off.

It wasn't.

However, the demonstration doesn't reflect what Widmer said of the timeline. In his 911 call Widmer tells dispatchers that he drained the tub first. 


The episode concluded, much to Ayran's chagrin, by reinforcing that Ryan Widmer at the very least lied to police on the night of Sarah's death. Although there was no "smoking gun" that proves Ryan murdered his wife, the hosts recommended Ayran ask his brother some hard questions.

He had no intention of doing so, he said.