Was Sarah Widmer's Death Really a Murder At All?EmpowerU Studio at Frame USA
225 Northland Blvd
Cincinnati, Ohio 45246
Anyone who remembers hearing about the Ryan Widmer “bathtub drowning” case—and people who just wonder about what happens behind-the-scenes in any major court case—will find this talk fascinating!
Award-winning author Janice Hisle, who covered all three of Widmer’s trials for The Cincinnati Enquirer, will reveal unique insights about one of the region’s most-debated murder cases—and will discuss powerful lessons that can be learned from it.
Janice lives near the Warren County, Ohio, neighborhood where 24-year-old Sarah Widmer drowned in her own bathtub back in 2008; Sarah’s husband of four months, Ryan, then 27, was accused of murder. Even after Widmer was convicted in 2011, Janice couldn’t stop thinking about the case. So she combed through more than 10,000 pages of records…and found compelling new information that was never made public during any of Widmer’s trials. This information was released for the first time in Janice’s book, SUBMERGED: Ryan Widmer, his drowned bride and the justice system.
Some people believe that Widmer’s story “just didn’t add up,” and they think he is right where he belongs–behind bars, serving 15-to-life. But many other readers of SUBMERGED wonder whether Sarah Widmer’s death was really a murder at all.
She did suffer from strange bouts of sleepiness and other possible signs of medical disorders that have been linked to unexplained drownings—yet no tests were ever done to rule out those problems, not even during her autopsy. Since then, prosecutors have refused to release Sarah’s DNA for testing; a battle over the DNA and other issues has been pending for more than six years in federal court.
Janice will outline controversies and questions that continue to swirl around this baffling case now, more than a dozen years after a beautiful young woman’s relaxing bath turned tragic—either by murder or by medical misfortune.
Autographed copies of SUBMERGED will be available for $20, cash only, immediately following Janice’s presentation.
Janice Hisle worked more than two decades as an award-winning journalist before becoming an acclaimed author and freelance writer.
In 2020, her debut book, SUBMERGED: Ryan Widmer, his drowned bride and the justice system, took top honors in the True Crime category of two national contests: the Indie Reader Discovery Awards and the National Indie Excellence Award. The book has earned more than 100 five-star ratings on Amazon.com, and, at times, has ranked among the top 30 in its category. Janice has done more than 50 public presentations about the book, sometimes speaking to standing-room-only crowds of people who, like her, continued to wonder about the 2008 drowning of 24-year-old Sarah Widmer and the prosecution of her husband of four months, Ryan.
SUBMERGED exposes hidden angles of a nationally publicized bathtub-drowning mystery, which Janice covered for The Cincinnati Enquirer through three spellbinding trials.
Janice recently completed her second book, a biography of a Cincinnati-area philanthropist; she will share information about it during her EmpowerU presentation.
A summa cum laude graduate of Kent State University, Janice worked 15 years for the Enquirer, and previously worked for newspapers in Dayton, Youngstown and Kent-Ravenna.
In recent years, she also has covered high-profile court cases for The Associated Press, including the 2019 trial of a Warren County teen who was acquitted of killing her newborn infant. But the teen, Brooke Skylar Richardson, was convicted of corpse abuse for burying the baby in her home’s back yard. Janice also covered the trials of Ray Tensing. He was the University of Cincinnati police officer who stood trial for murder twice in 2017-18, but both trials ended with deadlocked juries.
On the side, Janice teaches group fitness classes—so her feet stay as busy as her keyboard does.