“There is nothing apparent or anything to indicate anything suspicious or foul play,” he said. “She has had some health issues.”
Burke said when one of Widmer’s brothers hadn’t heard from her in about a week, he went to check on her and she was not breathing.
After the first conviction was thrown out due to juror misconduct in 2009 Widmer’s family wasn’t sure they would be able to raise the bond together to get him out of jail as he waited for his second trial. Jill said the first trial had eaten nearly all her retirement funds.
“But the financial toll doesn’t compare to the emotional toll it’s taken on me and Ryan,” she said at the time.
Defending their son cost close to $500,000.
After Widmer was convicted of drowning his wife Sarah in the bathtub of their Hamilton Twp. in 2011, Jackie Cromin said her sister was not able to attend any of the trial because, “She is very sick. This has ruined her.”
Charlie M. Rittgers, who helped his dad Charlie H. Rittgers while he was in law school with the first trial and was also part of the second and third trials, said the stress likely killed Jill Widmer.
“I had the opportunity to get to know Jill during the time our office represented Ryan and have nothing but good things to say about her,” Rittgers said. “The amount of stress that she and her family were under as a result of Sarah’s death and Ryan’s trials was immense. That amount of stress would get to anyone. It’s tragic.”