Fremont woman hospitalized for overdose weeks before homicide

Beth Risenburg died April 1, 2012 of a Methadone overdose.

Fremont police say the woman whose death was ruled a homicide by drug overdose was hospitalized less than a month before for the same reason.

Toxicology reports by the Lucas County coroner revealed 31-year-old Beth Risenburg had high levels of Methadone in her system when she died last April. But three weeks prior to her death, detective Jason Kiddey confirmed Beth was admitted to the hospital for an overdose that wasn't reported to police.

"There were certain facts and circumstances that made me question (the incident)," he said.

Kiddey said Beth's husband, 37-year-old Jason Risenburg, was prescribed the drug for back pain. An indictment handed up by a Sandusky County grand jury charges Jason with three first degree felonies in connection to his wife's death: murder, involuntary manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs.

Beth's mother, Maureen Spaulding, said her daughter was not suspicious the first time she was hospitalized.

"When the ER caught that there was Methadone in her system, Beth was shocked," she wrote to WNWO. "When asked, Jason said he had accidentally mixed up his medication with the anti-nausea medication Beth had asked for."

Beth's toxicology results took two to three months to prepare, according to Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie. When high levels of Methadone were recorded, Wukie said they needed more time to research before they could be certain of foul play.

"In this case, we had to get an opinion from the toxicologist to see how much would be required to get that blood level," he said. "It was a pretty significant ingestion of Methadone to get her level blood level to that point."

The autopsy results, paired with findings from Kiddey's investigation, lead Wukie to rule the death a homicide.

Jason was arrested by authorities in Graham, N.C., where he is currently fighting extradition.

"We're going to take every day as it comes," Kiddey said. "Right now, weâ??re just trying to get him back to Sandusky County."