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Beth Spaulding Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

December 27, 2020
4 min read
Image Credit: Investigation Discovery

Investigation Discovery’s ‘American Monster’ showcases unique clips and videos of murderers who hide beneath the disguise of a close friend or even a family member. In an episode of the series titled ‘In Sickness and In Health’ the dreary death of Beth Spaulding has been featured. The case, which revolves around a seemingly happy couple, left everyone speechless. Beth’s death was ruled as an overdose of a particular drug and the suspicion fell on her husband. The harrowing details of the case have left us baffled. We dug deep to extract these details from the real happenings in the case.

How Did Beth Spaulding Die?

Beth Spaulding, born to her parents on February 7, 1981, in Toledo, Ohio, had hormonal imbalance problems from a very young age which made her gain weight uncontrollably. Owing to her overweight, as stated by her mother in ‘In Sickness and In Health’ on Investigation Discovery’s ‘American Monster’, Beth was subject to immense bullying at school. According to accounts from family members, she met Jason Risenburg on a blind date when she was 16 and Jason was 21. Their romance bloomed into a long relationship which eventually turned into a marriage in 1999. The couple’s happiness received a setback when Beth was diagnosed with a tumor in her ovaries. After her operation, with support from her family and her husband, she had started to recover when Jason was injured in a work-related accident. He developed severe back pain for which he had been prescribed a drug called methadone.

On April 2, 2012, Beth Spaulding died in a hospital after being brought in as a response to a 911 call made by her husband, Jason Risenburg. According to Risenburg, Beth’s stomach ache, which was an after-effect of her tumor operation, had returned that night and she had taken her prescribed medicine to soothe it. Afterward, when he went to check on her, she did not respond. Later, an autopsy of her body revealed a toxic level of methadone which led the investigators to rule her death as a homicide by overdosing. Furthermore, three weeks before her death in 2012, Beth had been taken to the local hospital where the reports showed traces of methadone. This was dismissed as an accident on Jason’s part, who claimed to have accidentally mixed up both of their medications.

Who Killed Beth Spaulding?

Image Credit: Investigation Discovery

Beth’s husband, Jason Risenburg killed her. He was indicted on January 18, 2013, on one count of murder, one count of involuntary manslaughter, and one count of corrupting another person with drugs. The charges arose from Beth’s death on April 2, 2012, which occurred due to a drug overdose. Beth’s toxicology report was prepared for over two months, as mentioned by Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie. The report was mostly delayed due to Beth’s medical problems. When the reports showed an abnormally high dose of Methadone, the investigation team probed further to determine if the case was a homicide. Methadone was a regular substance in the couple’s residence due to Risenburg’s prescription. The narcotic is primarily known for its use by addicts to deter them from taking heroin or other opiates.

Risenburg had initially pleaded not guilty to all the charges pressed against him. However, just days before his trial was set to start, Risenburg accepted a plea deal according to which, he plead guilty to one charge of involuntary manslaughter in return for the prosecution dropping the murder and the drug charges against him. Following the acceptance of the plea deal, in March 2014, Risenburg was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Read More: Where Is Jason Risenburg Now?

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