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Fremont man arrested on murder charges

Jessica Cuffman • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Authorities arrested Jason Risenburg, 37, in Graham, N.C., after a Sandusky County grand jury indicted him last month on charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs.

His wife, Beth Risenburg, 31, died at their Franklin Avenue home on April 2, 2012.

She was homebound and had relied on her husband to take care of her, Fremont police Chief Tim Wiersma said.

“He took advantage of that,” Wiersma said.

To remove Beth’s body from the home, firefighters had to cut a large path through a doorway.

“She had health problems. Whether it was caused by the weight issue or the weight issue was caused by the health issues, it’s hard to tell,” Wiersma said. “What she died of was the excess of the drug in her system.”

Detectives wouldn’t learn her exact cause of death until months later, when toxicology reports from the Lucas County coroner showed she died of a

methadone overdose.

Detective Jason Kiddey picked up the investigation and, for several months, analyzed evidence from cell phone and computer files. He looked at toxicology results and details from a lengthy interview with Jason, who had had a prescription for methadone.

Methadone is a narcotic prescribed to people trying to ween themselves off heroin or other strong opiates.

After finishing his investigation, Kiddey forwarded the case to Sandusky County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt for consideration of charges.

Risenburg was difficult to track down, having left the Fremont area after his wife’s death. Kiddey caught up to him months ago when he was back in town. He questioned him about the death.

“Detective Kiddey has done so much work, put in a whole lot of man hours,” Wiersma said. “He just did a great job taking suspicion into doing good for the victim.”

Risenburg is being held at the Alamance County Jail in North Carolina, awaiting extradition back to Fremont. The criminal charges may bring closure to Beth’s family, Wiersma said.

“She can’t speak for herself, but we can make things right for her,” he said.


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