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Lead Investigator in Ohio Murder Resigns From Force

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio --

The lead investigator in the Ryan Widmer case has resigned his job as a police officer.

Lt. Jeff Braley submitted his letter of resignation Friday to the Hamilton Township police chief, citing personal reasons.

Braley was placed on an unpaid leave of absence until his resignation is effective Sept. 1.

"Due to many current events it has become necessary to take this action," Braley said in the letter. "The pressure of the constant hounding by the media, as well as many rumors, have taken such a toll on my family, my ministry and, most importantly, my health, that I know that I can no longer continue down my current path without the effects on my health becoming devastating."

Supporters of Widmer, who was convicted in February of murdering his wife, had accused Braley of acting improperly in investigating the August 2008 drowning death of 24-year-old Sarah Widmer.

Widmer was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison at the conclusion of his third trial. The first trial ended with a conviction that was later set aside due to juror misconduct, and a second trial ended in a hung jury.

Braley was also accused of making exaggerated or false statements on his application with the Hamilton Township police department, but the officer said he believes someone else had altered the document.

An investigation by the Ohio attorney general's office found that all handwriting on the form belonged to Braley, although Judge Neal Bronson ruled that Widmer's attorneys could not cross-examine the officer about those alterations during the murder trial.

An appeals court ruled last week that a lawsuit could proceed against Braley and other officers who are accused of violating the civil rights of a family when they raided a party in 2007.

Braley will be paid every other week for his accumulated vacation, compensatory and sick time, police officers said.

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