Maryland Dentist Arrested in Girlfriend's Overdose Death

Dr. James Ryan, an oral surgeon with a practice in Germantown, Maryland, was arrested Tuesday and charged with the second-degree murder of Sarah Harris.

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An oral surgeon in Maryland has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of his girlfriend, who police say was a former patient and employee of his.

Dr. James Ryan was arrested Tuesday at his practice in Germantown, Maryland, and charged with second-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Sarah Harris, Montgomery County police said.

Harris died Jan. 26 after overdosing on ketamine, an anesthetic, and Diazepam, a sedative used to treat anxiety, at a home on Godwit Street in Clarksburg, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones said at a news conference. Ryan was there at the time of her overdose, Jones said.

Jones said Ryan provided Harris with those and other drugs, including the anesthetic Propofol, between March 2021 and January of this year.

While investigating Harris' overdose death, police officers found bottles of drugs, syringes and tourniquets at the home, Jones said.

Investigators also discovered numerous text messages in which Ryan told Harris he would bring her drugs, where to find them in their home and how to make the drugs more potent, according to Jones. Conversations indicated Harris might have overdosed another time and someone performed CPR on her to resuscitate her, Jones said.

Jones said Ryan told Harris in another text conversation that he gave her ketamine while she was asleep. It was not clear when that alleged conversation happened.

Harris was a former patient of Ryan's before she began working at his practice as a surgical technician in October 2020, police said.

They began a romantic relationship around January 2021 and they lived together in Ryan’s Clarksburg home, according to police.

Jones said family members told police that Harris' appearance changed over time and she no longer looked healthy.

"On two different occasions, Harris was discovered in their residence surrounded by empty medicine bottles, similar to what was discovered at the death scene, used syringes and bloody clothing. In at least one instance, she was discovered in an altered state and had arms that were covered in needle marks and bruises," Jones said.

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