Mercer Co. Sheriff: 1 jailed, 1 dead in 2016 remains investigation

Miami Valley News

CELINA, Ohio (WDTN) – The Mercer County Sheriff said Thursday one woman is in jail and another woman is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in connection with the investigation into the Ryan Zimmerman homicide case.

Zimmerman was identified as the victim when human remains were found in West Bank State Park in January 2016. Zimmerman, from Kentucky, was 21-years-old at the time and had been reported missing from Columbus in November 2015.

Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said in a news conference the investigation into Zimmerman’s death led detectives to the Marion, IN home of Sarah Buzzard. The 30-year-old woman living there confessed to the strangulation and dismemberment of Zimmerman and was arrested, but has not yet been charged.

Buzzard’s wife, when told she would also be arrested, pulled a gun from her purse and shot herself. She died from her injuries, according to Grey.

Watch the full news conference below:

Buzzard is now in the Mercer County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday. She faces charges of:

  • Four counts of tampering with evidence
  • One count of grand theft auto
  • Two counts of abuse of a corpse

Authorities said in 2016 Zimmerman moved to the Columbus area in 2015 to meet some friends he had met through the internet. Ryan would communicate with his parents from time to time while in Columbus, but one day, Ryan’s father received a letter saying that the car Ryan was driving was impounded and arrangements needed to be made to retrieve it.

Ryan’s father traveled to Columbus after he was not able to make contact with Ryan. He was then reported missing, in November of 2015.

His remains were found on January 3, 2016, near Coldwater Creek. Ohio BCI was able to positively identify Zimmerman after Columbus Police reached out to his parents and requested a DNA sample that they tested along with Zimmerman’s remains.

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