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Submerged: Ryan Widmer, his drowned bride and the justice system

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A young bride drowns in her bathtub. Her husband of four months is accused of murder. What happened in their tiny suburban bathroomand whywas never resolved. A compelling true-crime drama, based on exclusive new information, Submerged exposes hidden angles of a case that captivated and divided an ordinary American community, tore apart two families and tested the criminal A young bride drowns in her bathtub. Her husband of four months is accused of murder. What happened in their tiny suburban bathroom—and why—was never resolved. A compelling true-crime drama, based on exclusive new information, Submerged exposes hidden angles of a case that captivated and divided an ordinary American community, tore apart two families and tested the criminal justice system. Compelled by conscience and curiosity, former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Janice (Morse) Hisle—who covered the saga of Ryan and Sarah Widmer from the start—returns 10 years later to dig deep to tell the untold story: dozens of interviews, 6,000 pages of trial transcripts and previously unrevealed records such as: • Ryan’s first written statement about Sarah’s death • attorneys’ notes and trial-preparation documents • Ryan’s personal journal, notes and correspondence • more than a thousand pages of police notes and reports Submerged will draw you into the depths of a stranger-than-fiction story that you will ponder long after turning the final page.


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A young bride drowns in her bathtub. Her husband of four months is accused of murder. What happened in their tiny suburban bathroomand whywas never resolved. A compelling true-crime drama, based on exclusive new information, Submerged exposes hidden angles of a case that captivated and divided an ordinary American community, tore apart two families and tested the criminal A young bride drowns in her bathtub. Her husband of four months is accused of murder. What happened in their tiny suburban bathroom—and why—was never resolved. A compelling true-crime drama, based on exclusive new information, Submerged exposes hidden angles of a case that captivated and divided an ordinary American community, tore apart two families and tested the criminal justice system. Compelled by conscience and curiosity, former Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Janice (Morse) Hisle—who covered the saga of Ryan and Sarah Widmer from the start—returns 10 years later to dig deep to tell the untold story: dozens of interviews, 6,000 pages of trial transcripts and previously unrevealed records such as: • Ryan’s first written statement about Sarah’s death • attorneys’ notes and trial-preparation documents • Ryan’s personal journal, notes and correspondence • more than a thousand pages of police notes and reports Submerged will draw you into the depths of a stranger-than-fiction story that you will ponder long after turning the final page.

30 review for Submerged: Ryan Widmer, his drowned bride and the justice system

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    This was an unexpected buy at @booksonthebank l, but it quickly caught my attention! This #truecrime story took place not far from where I live. Although I remember hearing of the case on #dateline, I just didnt realize how close to home it really was! Back in 2008, Ryan Widmers wife, Sarah, drowned in her own bathtub. Despite having unusual sleeping habits and complaints of not feeling well earlier that same day, Ryan was charged and convicted of her murder. Many felt that a fairly dry bathroom This was an unexpected buy at @booksonthebank l, but it quickly caught my attention! This #truecrime story took place not far from where I live. Although I remember hearing of the case on #dateline, I just didn’t realize how close to home it really was! Back in 2008, Ryan Widmer’s wife, Sarah, drowned in her own bathtub. Despite having unusual sleeping habits and complaints of not feeling well earlier that same day, Ryan was charged and convicted of her murder. Many felt that a fairly dry bathroom and only her hair being wet when responders arrived, was evidence enough to convict him. Janice Hisle was able to gather first hand accounts while being a reporter on the case. She attended trials, performed interviews and eventually wrote this book that shares all of her knowledge about the case. I really enjoyed this one and couldn’t wait to read it each night! It read like a novel and was fascinating to hear unknown details that the media didn’t share to the public. After finishing, I am anxious to go back and rewatch the episode of #dateline. If you enjoy #dateline or 48 hours, this is right up your alley! If you have heard of this case, or read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Fischer

    Even though I no longer lived in Cincinnati, I followed this case though one of my sister's as it was happening. Right from the start, I believed it to be a rush to judgement. Interestingly enough, I had just watched an ID show where a detective and lawyer try to prove whether a loved one who is incarcerated is guilty or not guilty, including reasonable doubt. Their conclusion was based on one fact. After reading this book, which included actual testimony from the trials and the unprofessional Even though I no longer lived in Cincinnati, I followed this case though one of my sister's as it was happening. Right from the start, I believed it to be a rush to judgement. Interestingly enough, I had just watched an ID show where a detective and lawyer try to prove whether a loved one who is incarcerated is guilty or not guilty, including reasonable doubt. Their conclusion was based on one fact. After reading this book, which included actual testimony from the trials and the unprofessional and almost immediate arrest of the "suspect," I don't how the final trial ended without considering reasonable doubt. The book was well-written and well-researched. The author had observed all three trials and started "digging" after the last trial. This is a true journalist.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A fascinating, riveting, objective first-hand account of a most unusual death of a young woman and subsequent murder trials of her husband of 4 months. This true story is more intriguing than any fictional crime story - one that will haunt you for days after you finish it. I used to trust that one could get a fair trial by a jury of peers but now I have serious concerns if this is the case. I just know I never want to be in a position to encounter the criminal court system!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Judi Rogers

    This book is about a grave miscarriage of justice! This is so well written, you really get dragged into the story. Breaks my heart that things did not turn out as they should have. Misconduct of investigators, of a coroner who literally rushed to judgement. Three horrifying trials, and still no justice.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Moore

    Ryan is innocent I believe even more so now that Ryan is innocent. This was great investigative work and made me feel even more confident in my decision to believe Ryan Widmer did not kill his wife.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Brewer

    #freeryan Ryan should be free. I don't believe for a minute he is guilty. I learned a lot I didn't know before from this book. The book is well written and unbiased. I've always supported Ryan, and pray that his conviction will be overturned one day.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Well written... a scary look into how the justice system functions.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Very interesting story. I had a hard time putting this one down. Obviously well researched. And quite likely a huge miscarriage of justice. It suggests some scary things about our justice system.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Amazing book. Tons of research. Highly recommended!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Interesting book that details a fascinating Cincinnati area case. Local author, Janice Hisle, is a great public speaker!

  11. 4 out of 5

    roline fenton

    So many ifs! A very sad story, no matter the truth! Two young people whose lives held such promise, taken buy death and confusion long before their time. A truly sad story about two young people whose lives held so much promise and tragically were lost due to human error by first not insisting on this young lady not having medical intervention to check on what caused unnatural conditions being observed by many others. Secondly, a flawed investigation by many trusted law personnel and some not so So many ifs! A very sad story, no matter the truth! Two young people whose lives held such promise, taken buy death and confusion long before their time. A truly sad story about two young people whose lives held so much promise and tragically were lost due to human error by first not insisting on this young lady not having medical intervention to check on what caused unnatural conditions being observed by many others. Secondly, a flawed investigation by many trusted law personnel and some not so trusted. It will take me time to forget such a miscarriage by our justice system.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Atlantis

    This was not as thought provoking as it was tragic- so many unknowns and not enough evidence.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Craig Wooten

    Fascinating book! I didnt follow much about this case when it was on the news. I just thought he was guilty. After reading the book and seeing the facts laid out by Janice, I'm not so sure about his guilt. I'm looking forward to your next book,I couldn't put Submerged down.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    Justice Gone Wrong Im not a huge fan of True Crime because I usually dont learn anything new, but Ive been hooked on this story ever since I first heard of it so I kind of HAD to check it out... Submerged actually filled in many holes but only further proved to me that Ryan Widmer is an innocent man living a hell on earth. I cannot even fathom how this case even got to the trial level never mind THREE of them. The Bathtub Mystery is the perfect storm of ambition, the refusal to right a wrong, Justice Gone Wrong I’m not a huge fan of True Crime because I usually don’t learn anything new, but I’ve been hooked on this story ever since I first heard of it so I kind of HAD to check it out... Submerged actually filled in many holes but only further proved to me that Ryan Widmer is an innocent man living a hell on earth. I cannot even fathom how this case even got to the trial level never mind THREE of them. “The Bathtub Mystery” is the perfect storm of ambition, the refusal to right a wrong, guilty until proven innocent & justice gone horribly awry. I don’t testify to Widmer’s character (although that appears to be above reproach as well) but if after reading “Submerged” you DON’T think this could happen to you, think again...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth Brookshire

    Ryan is innocent... "Change my mind" This case was local and consumed people here and across the nation. The author of this book was probably the best person to write this as she reported it from day one and followed it for a decade. I'm not going to go into all the reasons I 100% believe in Ryan Widmer's innocence but I will say that there is an egregious error of justice continuing here in Ohio. When it takes you three trials to put someone behind bars, and you offer a five year plea deal that Ryan is innocent... "Change my mind" This case was local and consumed people here and across the nation. The author of this book was probably the best person to write this as she reported it from day one and followed it for a decade. I'm not going to go into all the reasons I 100% believe in Ryan Widmer's innocence but I will say that there is an egregious error of justice continuing here in Ohio. When it takes you three trials to put someone behind bars, and you offer a five year plea deal that the defendant refuses, you know something is wrong. I can only hope that an innocence project will take this case and free Ryan. Then I hope he cripples Warren County with a lawsuit.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Denise Meister

    Doubts and Seeking the Truth in an Imperfect System Will the truth ever be revealed? Perception became reality and is an innocent man in prison? One thing most troubling, why did Sarah's mother at the third trial change her tone of statement that in my opinion was devastating to Ryan's case. What does she know or what motivated her to use a terrible adjective to describe her daughter and Ryan's relationship when this same mother adored him? Who or what poisoned her thoughts ? In my opinion, her Doubts and Seeking the Truth in an Imperfect System Will the truth ever be revealed? Perception became reality and is an innocent man in prison? One thing most troubling, why did Sarah's mother at the third trial change her tone of statement that in my opinion was devastating to Ryan's case. What does she know or what motivated her to use a terrible adjective to describe her daughter and Ryan's relationship when this same mother adored him? Who or what poisoned her thoughts ? In my opinion, her word "hateful" was extreme, unjustified and devastating to the defense. Great investigative work by the author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary Christian Payne

    Made me a believer in the innocence of a wrongly convicted younv man A very sell-researched and documented book describing the truly sad, inexplicable death of a lovely, educated, successful young wife. This book offers the reader a first-hand lookat our judicial system, and forever changes a person's belief in fairness. I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Ryan did not kill his wife. Thanks

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    I knew very little about the Ryan Widmer case even though I live less than 50 miles from where it took place. After reading I so strongly feel that he has been unjustly accused. How could ANYONE find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? I like the fact that the author includes all the things she does, leaving you to draw your own conclusions. Great book, but so sad for everyone involved.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chrystine Collins-blums

    Perhaps Not Enough to Prove Innocence but Ample ReasonableDobt Well written, objective and intriguing. I did not come away convinced of Ryan's innocence but there wasn't close to sufficient evidence to convict. There account leaves many unanswered questions which adds suspense despite knowing the outcome.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie Brown

    Interesting and horrifying story It was horrifying to see the lack of oversight of juries. They take it upon themselves to solve the crime rather than evaluate the evidence. Of which there is night but conjecture. Writing bit choppy and unfocused delving into first person

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janice Uible

    Couldn't stop reading; this happened near my city and I had followed the trial each time. This is written by the reporter who covered the case and it is very interesting to read a very objective view. Nice Holiday gift for $20!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelli Glesige

    I followed all three trials, but this book disclosed things I didn't know. I found it very informative. I hope writing this book brings someone to the surface that can make a difference in the outcome. Answers to many questions are needed.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ilecia Baboolal

    Well researched but a bit biased The author placed her disclaimer at the beginning of the book that the case was one of wrongful conviction, so it was obviously going to have some degree of bias. While she did attempt to give the whole unbiased picture, you are aware of the side for which youre fighting. Despite her in depth research and coverage of the trial much of it painted in the opinion of the author, its hard to believe that 36 jurors could get it wrong (give or take 6). If her argument Well researched but a bit biased The author placed her disclaimer at the beginning of the book that the case was one of wrongful conviction, so it was obviously going to have some degree of bias. While she did attempt to give the whole unbiased picture, you are aware of the side for which you’re fighting. Despite her in depth research and coverage of the trial much of it painted in the opinion of the author, it’s hard to believe that 36 jurors could get it wrong (give or take 6). If her argument and research is valid then this is a serious indictment on the education system in America. 30 something odd people in this county need to go back to school, and that is where my issue lies. I may need to research this on my own because that’s a fairly large number of people that deem this person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I can’t blame all of that on illiteracy. Having never heard about this case I think another look with a reduced bias is imperative.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Biggus

    To be fair, this applies to the audio book, not the book book. Someone needs to tell the, quote, narrator, unquote, not to read quote, punctuation marks, unquote! I could not stand it after an hour of this. If you think I am being picky, take a look at what the audible reviews on this title say. I think I deserve a quote, medal, unquote, for getting to the one hour mark before I quote, pulled the pin, unquote. It might have been tolerable if much of the story was NOT dialog, but since it was, To be fair, this applies to the audio book, not the book book. Someone needs to tell the, quote, narrator, unquote, not to read quote, punctuation marks, unquote! I could not stand it after an hour of this. If you think I am being picky, take a look at what the audible reviews on this title say. I think I deserve a quote, medal, unquote, for getting to the one hour mark before I quote, pulled the pin, unquote. It might have been tolerable if much of the story was NOT dialog, but since it was, this seemed to happen several times every paragraph! This was actually the author doing this! The fact that she read it as you might expect chick lit to be read, didn't help much either. Did someone actually listen to this before it was released? Diabolically bad narration spoiled what otherwise may have been a good book. :(

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susi Robinson

    The story was interesting as it followed the path of 3 seperate trials of Ryan Widmer, accused of drowning his wife in the bathtub. It saddened me to see the outcome of 3 trials where in each there had several instances of what appeared to be jury misconduct; I believe an example of our justice system's reflection of society's misplaced values. I would recommend this as an "ok" read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eric Edwards

    This book is strongest when pointing out the problems with our adversarial judicial system and our issues with thinking that our opinions are facts. Unfortunately the writing style is almost like a list of bullet points rather than actual prose. This style makes it a bit hard to get engaged with the story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jody Reel

    Great read Great read! Def recommend! This has enticed me to want to read more into this case! Pictures would have made the book a 5 star! Its always good to see what you are reading about. Great read Great read! Def recommend! This has enticed me to want to read more into this case! Pictures would have made the book a 5 star! It’s always good to see what you are reading about.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lou Ferguson

    Good book but...... This was a good read but very long. With three trials it was very repetitive but I guess it needed to be. It

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    Very good unbiased telling of the Widmer story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    Can't believe this story. Was convinced this guy probably did it. Now convinced he didnt. Sad Sad story....

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