Fremont man arrested on murder charges

A former Fremont man faces criminal charges in the April 2012 overdose death of his wife.
Jessica Cuffman
Feb 7, 2013


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.



Another fine example of the sanctity of marriage.


Has nobody ever heard of divorce? Yes, divorce is unpleasant at best. But you don't usually end up in jail for it! And however nasty it gets, you do eventually decide to, and get to, live the rest of your life! Here? One partner's in jail, the other partner is DEAD. I'm not entirely clear what kind of problem THAT was supposed to have solved!

Simple Enough II

I wonder if she was that large in such poor health if she didn't want to just "Slip away", but i guess there must have been evidence otherwise.


I was thinking the same thing Simple is thinking.. Maybe this was done out of passion n mercy. Who would want to live like that, depending on others to take care of you. I mean if I ever got anyway like that, find me in the backyard..I will have taken myself out..


Unfortunately in this country we are only permitted to euthanize our pets. Our loved ones must suffer until their dying breath.


Sad ain't it?


lugnut, if you got to the point that you had to depend on others to take care of you, how are you going to get into the back yard to take yourself out?


You mean to tell me Steirwalt actually DID something with a case? He returned phone calls and answered someone's questions? No restraining order was filed by him? Sandusky County's legal system? WOW--that's a shocker!


I'm thinking this...(to himself)..."Dang Mang!", "If I just (slip) her a lil' more....who's gonna know...or care?"...well guess what d-bag?...till death do you part. And bash me if you like, because I know that I would stand by my wife through THICK and THIN...just as she has for me...and death, is only excusable by the god himself.