Ryan Waller: What Really Happened To Him?

In December 2006, the lives of Ryan Waller and his girlfriend, Heather Quan, took a tragic turn when they became victims of a violent home invasion. 

However, the aftermath of the incident unfolded into a story of police misconduct, false accusations, and a family’s relentless pursuit of justice.

In this article, let’s delve into the tragic story of Ryan Waller and the quest for justice for Ryan’s parents.

Quick Bio

NameRyan Waller
Date of BirthFebruary 12, 1988
Date of DeathJanuary 20, 2016
ParentsDonald Thomas Waller
Marital StatusNot Married
PartnerHeather Quan

Who Was Ryan Waller? 

Born on February 12, 1988, Ryan Thomas Waller harbored a profound love for music, with a particular interest for playing the guitar since his early years.

His father, Donald Thomas Waller, known as Don, described Ryan as a quick learner who could effortlessly rap along to songs upon hearing them.

Beyond his musical talents, Ryan was also fascinated by technology. Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, he later made Phoenix, Arizona, his home before the tragic events that unfolded.

Ryan was in a relationship with Heather Quan that spanned almost eight months. Having recently completed high school, Ryan embarked on a new journey with Heather, who was pursuing her college education. 

The couple, along with a third roommate named Alicia, decided to make a home together by renting a house in Phoenix, Arizona.

What Happened to Ryan Waller and Heather Quan?

On the night of December 25th, 2006, Richie Carver and his father, Larry Carver, unlawfully entered the residence of Ryan and Heather by forcibly breaking through the backdoor. 

In a horrifying turn of events, they shot Ryan Waller in the face and Heather Quan in the head, tragically ending her life instantly.

The Carvers then ransacked the house, making off with electronic devices and a guitar. These belongings were never recovered. 

Fatefully, Ryan Waller survived the brutal attack. Concerns arose when Ryan failed to attend the family Christmas dinner, and his parents’ calls went unanswered. 

His parents decided to visit his home, discovering no response. They urgently requested the police to conduct a wellness check on their son.

Arriving at the scene around midnight, the police observed a body through a window. Despite this alarming sight, they made the decision not to forcibly enter, choosing instead to wait for hours to secure a search warrant.

During this tense period, Alicia, the third roommate, returned home. It was only when the police returned, knocking on the door that she responded.

Upon finally searching the house, the police discovered the lifeless body of Heather Quan. Subsequently, they arrested a wounded Ryan Waller on suspicion of murder. 

The police, misguided by assumptions, speculated that Ryan’s facial gunshot wound was merely a black eye, leading them to theorize about a violent altercation between him and Quan.


The Controversial Handling of Ryan Waller’s Case

Despite enduring a traumatic brain injury from the gunshot, Waller was forced to endure four hours in a police vehicle and then subjected to a two-hour interrogation.

The interrogation footage went viral, showcasing a bewildered Waller struggling to articulate coherent responses to straightforward questions posed by lead detective Paul Dalton.

In response to the mishandling of Ryan Waller’s case, the Waller family took legal action against the Phoenix Police Department and the City of Phoenix, seeking $15 million in damages.

Curiously, three weeks before the trial, the lawsuit faced dismissal following the City of Phoenix’s submission of a “Motion for Dismissal” to the court.

The city’s defense rested on the opinion of a brain expert who assessed Ryan’s injuries, asserting that the delay in treatment would not have influenced the severity of his injuries.

Consequently, the judge sided with the city’s argument, concluding that Ryan would have sustained identical injuries irrespective of the delay, leading to the dismissal of the lawsuit.

Despite the legal setback, the Waller family maintains their belief that corruption tainted the actions of city attorneys, police officers, and detectives. 

Ryan’s father highlighted the expertise of a brain surgeon from Florida who would have testified that each passing minute was crucial when dealing with a bleeding and swelling brain.

Family’s Quest for Justice

Allegations have emerged surrounding the Phoenix Police Department’s handling of Ryan Waller’s case, suggesting the fabrication of evidence to conceal negligence. 

Detective Dalton faced accusations of evidence tampering, yet he faced no repercussions within the police force. 

The police report is suspected to contain false information about the shooting date, potentially 

aimed at diverting attention from their delayed medical response.

Contrary evidence indicates that on December 23, Waller was assisting his parents in remodeling their bathroom, a fact supported by Alicia’s testimony affirming that the incident occurred on Christmas night.

Further contradictions arise from Quan’s obituary and tombstone, both citing her death as December 25, 2006. 

Waller’s surgeon asserted that his wound was fresh and displayed no indications of being a two-day-old injury. In their pursuit of justice, the Waller family aims to raise awareness about the alleged injustice. 

They are hoping that increased exposure will exert enough pressure to reopen the case and enable them to present their case in court against the Phoenix Police Department.

Richie and Larry Carver’s Arrest

After the police recognized Waller’s innocence, they successfully apprehended the real culprits. During interrogation, Waller crucially identified “Richie and his dad” as the perpetrators who broke into the house and committed the crimes.

However, Detective Dalton misunderstood Waller’s statement, wrongly assuming it referred to an ex-roommate. 

Acting on this misconception, the police initially arrested Richie Carver, while Larry fled to California with the murder weapon. Larry was eventually captured.

Larry’s wife, Cheryl, initially supported their involvement in an interview, recounting their departure on December 25, 2006.

Cheryl later withdrew her statement just before the Carvers’ trial, claiming memory lapses and admitting to lying out of anger toward Larry due to their turbulent relationship. 

Consequently, the case against Larry was dismissed, as Cheryl’s confession stood as the sole evidence.

On the other side, Richie Carver faced conviction on numerous charges such as felony murder, burglary, aggravated assault, and weapons misconduct, resulting in a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Richie’s history of violence, with prior convictions for armed robbery and domestic violence, further solidified his conviction.

Heather Quan’s family advocated for legislative change, leading to the enactment of “Heather’s Law,” abolishing spousal privilege when a spouse voluntarily provides information about their partner’s criminal activities.

After a protracted legal battle, Larry’s case was reopened, resulting in his conviction on all counts. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in January 2013.

Ryan Waller’s Death

Due to delayed medical attention, Waller’s gunshot wound led to a severe brain infection, preventing immediate surgery to extract the bullet. 

Eventually, on December 28, 2006, he underwent surgery, remaining hospitalized for 35 days.

The bullet’s trajectory from the left side of his face to the left temporal lobe resulted in fragments lodging in his brain. 

It caused swelling and additional complications, including a bullet splinter behind his left eye. Moreover, during his arrest, he suffered a broken jaw when tackled to the ground.

Waller endured permanent damage, including the loss of his left eye, frequent seizures, and memory loss. 

Medical experts emphasized that prompt medical intervention could have reduced the severity of his injuries and infection. Following his hospitalization, Waller returned home to his parents’ care. 

However, tragically, on January 20, 2016, he had a fatal seizure, sustaining a head injury during a fall and bleeding out in a grocery store.