Dr James Ryan held in jail without bond over the death of 25-year-old Sarah Harris
An oral surgeon who allegedly supplied his girlfriend with anesthesia drugs through an IV has been charged with “depraved heart” murder after she fatally overdosed.
Dr James Ryan, 48, is being held in jail without bond over the death of 25-year-old Sarah Harris, who was a former patient of his.
Investigators say that Harris worked for Dr Ryan as a surgical technician in October 2020, before starting a romantic relationship with him in January 2021, and eventually moved into his Maryland hjem.
“After moving in with Ryan, Sarah Harris developed and sank into a serious addiction involving multiple controlled dangerous substances provided by Ryan,” court filings state.
Prosecutors say that Dr Ryan had provided Harris with controlled substances, including Propofol, Ketamine, Diazepam, and Midazolam, and even discussed it with her in text messages.
“In these communications, both Harris and Dr Ryan have frank and explicit conversations which depict Harris asking Dr Ryan to obtain and or procure different drugs from the practice,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones.
Harris died eight weeks ago, and prosecutors say they built their case against Dr Ryan with the autopsy results, interviews with relatives of the victim and the text messages between the couple.
“I feel so disoriented,” Harris texted Dr Ryan on 28 september, according to the court papers.
“It’s the ketamine, the combo (med) maybe the neurontin,” he replied. “They have interactions. Is it hard to walk?”
"Nei, just feel like I’m kinda floating," hun sa.
By charging Dr Ryan with the second-degree murder, prosecutors are not claiming that it was a premeditated killing.
They are instead alleging that as a surgeon experienced in the use of anesthesia he knew of the dangers of the drugs, of the victim’s addiction, and also displayed “an extreme indifference” to her life by providing her the drugs at home and medical equipment to help administer them.
He has also been charged with reckless endangerment and a string of drug-related counts. “Sarah had a passion for learning, drawing, and spending time with her puppy Winston,” her obituary read.
“She had a personality that would light up a room and she carried a radiant smile along with it. She marched to the beat of her own drum and was like no other. She loved fiercely and passionately.”