A 30-year-old Ohio woman may spend the rest of her life in prison for brutally mur*dering and dismembering a Kentucky man in 2016, then disposing of his body in a state park. Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey R. Ingraham handed down a sentence of life with the possibility of parole after 30 years to Sarah E. Buzzard for killing Ryan R. Zimmerman
Buzzard was arrested in August 2021, nearly six years after the mu*rder of George Zimmerman, and charged with 18 crimes, including two counts of mur*der, four counts of evidence tampering, felony abuse of a corpse, and felony assault. She reportedly reached an agreement with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office last week in which she pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated m*urder in exchange for the dismissal of the other charges against her.
Buzzard addressed the court prior to sentencing.
Buzzard reportedly stated, “Not a day goes by that I do not wish for a chance to take it all back.” “I accept responsibility for my role in Ryan’s death, and I will spend the rest of my life attempting to redeem myself through good deeds and actions.”
Manda Moore, Zimmerman’s sister, reportedly stated in a victim impact statement that her children “will never know their uncle Ryan.”
“They will never be able to converse with him or recognise the similarities I see between them. They would have loved playing those games with him, but they will never get the chance,” she reportedly said.
In January 2016, a person walking their dog along Coldwater Creek in West Bank State Park discovered what they believed to be human bones and contacted the police, according to the report. Reportedly, the majority of the unrecovered remains belonged to a human torso. According to reports, investigators were unable to identify the victim until June 2020, when a forensic anthropologist positively identified the remains as belonging to 21-year-old George Zimmerman.
Investigators were then able to track Zimmerman back to Kentucky, where his parents reportedly informed police that he had moved to Columbus before disappearing. According to WANE, Zimmerman met Buzzard’s ex-husband on social media and moved in with the couple only weeks before his death.
Investigators were reportedly able to pinpoint the Columbus location where Zimmerman was mu*rdered and dismembered with a saw after obtaining and executing multiple search warrants on social media companies. Buzzard’s vehicle was then used to transport his body to Mercer County, where it was dumped in a state park.
Last summer, detectives from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Buzzard’s home, which she shared with her then-wife, Naria Jenna Whitaker, 33. When confronted by five members of the sheriff’s office regarding the death of George Zimmerman, Whitaker “withdrew a handgun from her bag and shot herself,” according to a report from Mercer County radio station WBAT. She reportedly shot herself in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. That day, Buzzard was taken into custody.
According to WBAT, during an interview with sheriff’s detectives, Buzzard admitted to strangling and dismembering Zimmerman. According to reports, she stated that Whitaker assisted her in the mu*rder. According to reports, her ex-husband was not a suspect in the m*urder case.