Oral Surgeon Charged with 'Depraved Heart' Murder for Allegedly Giving Girlfriend Drugs That Led to Overdose – PEOPLE

An oral surgeon in Maryland has been arrested and charged in connection to the death of his girlfriend, who suffered a fatal drug overdose in January, say police.
On Tuesday morning, Dr. James Ryan, 48, was arrested at his practice in Germantown, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement.
He is charged with 10 criminal offenses including second-degree murder, reckless endangerment, possession of controlled dangerous substances with intent to distribute, distribution of controlled dangerous substances, and possession and distribution of controlled dangerous substance administration equipment in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Sarah Harris, 25, online court records show.
"Ryan had been providing controlled substances, including Propofol, ketamine, Diazepam, and midazolam to Harris," the Montgomery County Police Department alleged in the statement.
Ryan told Harris how to make the drugs even stronger, according to court filings, which accuse him of bringing home saline, fluids, needles and IV poles to "aid in the administration of drugs or the recovery from the effects," WUSA9 reports.
Authorities allege that Ryan showed an "extreme indifference" to Harris' life by supplying her with powerful anesthesia drugs using an IV stand, court records state, The Washington Post reports.
During a bail review hearing Wednesday, a Montgomery County District Court judge ordered Ryan held without bond, citing his concerns about public safety, WBAL-TV reports.
"Thank you Jesus for this victory," Harris' mother told WUSA9 after the hearing.
Harris was a patient of Ryan's before she began working at his practice as a surgical technician in October of 2020, say police.
"They began a romantic relationship around January of 2021, while she worked at Ryan's practice," police said in the statement.
Harris moved into Ryan's Clarksburg home in the summer of 2021, court filings show, WUSA9 reports.
After Harris moved in with Ryan, Harris "developed and sank into a serious addiction involving multiple controlled dangerous substances provided by Ryan," detectives said in court filings, according to the Post.
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Family members became concerned that she was using drugs, court records show, the Post reports.
Per the outlet, in October, relatives found Harris "in an altered state" at home and saw that her arms were "covered with needle marks," according to the records.
Harris and Ryan's relationship continued until Jan. 26, 2022, when Montgomery County Police Officers responded to a call about an overdose at his Clarksburg house.
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Montgomery County Fire Rescue responded and tried to save Harris, who was pronounced dead on the scene.
County police arrested Ryan following an extensive investigation.
Ryan faces up to 78 years in prison if convicted. He is being held in the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit.
His attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
As police continue to investigate, Harris' loved ones are mourning the loss of "such a remarkable Daughter, Sister, Granddaughter, Aunt, and one of a kind woman," according to her obituary in The Washington Times.
Harris, it reads, "was taken from this world far too soon. No last farewell or final goodbye. She was gone before anyone knew it."
Harris "had a passion for learning, drawing, and spending time with her puppy, Winston. She loved photography, traveling, meeting new people, exploring God's creations, animals, laughing with her sisters, and most of all creating precious memories with her family.
"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."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.


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