Hey, little skeletons! I’m Gina – And I’m Amber! – and this is Weird True Crime!
Amber: I don’t even know where to begin with today’s case. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said “what the actual fuck” while going over this story. Shout out to my mom for suggesting this one!
Gina: If you want to suggest a future case for us to cover, or express your outrage at the craziness you’re about to hear, join our group on Facebook, Weird True Crime Podcast Group. Before we dive in, we also want to invite you all to come see us at the True Crime & Paranormal Podcast Festival here in Austin on August 25-27th! We are so excited to be a part of it this year so check out the link for more information in our show notes. Now, before we begin, I know nothing of the case and haven’t seen or heard anything about it, so I will be experiencing it right along with you guys. Let’s go!
Amber: A couple of weeks ago, we talked about interrogations and interrogation methods. Sometimes they’re literally just a formality as the police are able to put together a clear picture of what happened without even asking a single question and sometimes, it is clear what transpired, but they need to get a few more details to really understand. For today’s case, we’re going to be focusing and talking a lot about the interrogation video – you’ll understand why soon enough. We’re traveling back to December of 2006 in Phoenix, Arizona. A young couple, Ryan Waller and his girlfriend of 8 months, Heather Quan, were spending some time together alone, at their house on December 23, 2006. Their families were expecting to see them at some point due to the upcoming Christmas holiday, so when neither family heard from either one of them the day after Christmas, Ryan’s concerned father drove to their house to check on them. When no one answered the door, he contacted the police to do a welfare check. The police arrived around midnight and even though they noticed a body from the window, they refused to break in and instead waited hours for a search warrant – which wasn’t necessary in this case. Ryan and Heather’s roommate, Alicia, had arrived home and went straight to her bedroom, not noticing anything off in the living room. She answered the door when the police knocked again and they were able to gain entry. They were not prepared for what they encountered when they went inside.
Gina: 21-year-old Heather Quan was found, deceased on the couch. Ryan was there, alive, with a huge black and blue bruise on his left eye and some dried blood on his face. He was immediately apprehended as a suspect with the police thinking that there had been some sort of domestic dispute that resulted in her death. Ryan waited in the back of the police car while the police processed the scene. After waiting for 4 hours in the back of the police car, he was taken to the station where a lengthy interrogation began starting roughly around 5:00 in the morning. At the beginning of the interrogation video, you can see Ryan enter the room wearing a white jumpsuit – assuming the police took his clothing in as evidence and gave him the poofy suit to wear. Ryan sits on the chair with his back to the wall, knees up to his chest, and bare feet on the edge of the chair. Every now and then he raises his right arm and rests his head against it. As mentioned before, Ryan has a severely bruised eye – it is very dark and swollen. About 5 minutes into waiting, he adjusts his position in the chair and leans forward with his head resting on his arms on the table. He continues to fidget and move around as if he can’t get comfortable. The way he moves around sometimes makes it seem like his head is hurting him – but with the size of the bruise on his eye, it would be a surprise if he DIDN’T have a headache honestly. A few more minutes pass and still no one enters the room. All the while, Ryan is still fidgeting and can be heard moaning softly here and there. He just can’t seem to stay still longer than a few moments before he changes positions or shuffles his feet.
Amber: Finally, at about 9 minutes into the video, Ryan makes a few more inaudible noises and stands up looking like he’s ready to just walk out the door, but can’t because his left wrist is attached to a handcuff on the table. Instead, he picks up a piece of paper off of the table and starts reading over it. Finally, someone enters the room. It’s hard to hear what is said, but they have Ryan pick up his feet and place them on the table so they can take photographs. He stays in this position while they snap the photos and he tells the interrogator that he just wants to go to sleep. The lead detective on the case, Paul Dalton, responds that it’ll happen sooner or later. When they’re done taking pictures, Ryan asks if he can go home.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 3:05 to 3:19
The bruising is bad enough on Ryan’s face that Detective Dalton makes a comment that he needs to go to the hospital to get it checked out, but at this point, they’re unsure who or what caused it. Was it Heather fighting back against Ryan that caused the injuries to his face, or something else? Dalton then prepares to read Ryan his Miranda Rights and asks him if he’s ever watched a cop show or a lawyer show. Ryan initially responds that he hadn’t, but after he’s asked a few more times, he just says yeah. Confusion increases when Dalton asks the simple question of the highest grade level:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 4:53 to 5:15
Dalton is genuinely confused at this point, but presses on and asks Ryan if he has a girlfriend:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 5:35 to 6:34.
Ryan’s speech is slurred, he’s unable to answer questions directly and just continues to say I don’t know. Earlier when Ryan had been saying that he just wanted to go to sleep, the detective said he couldn’t just yet in case he had a concussion – which could have been a real possibility.
Gina: Dalton presses on talking about Heather, asking Ryan how old she is and how long he’s known her which leads him to try to explain how he knew her from school.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 6:53 to 7:37
He switches tactics and decides to ask Ryan directly what happened to his face.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 7:45 to 8:26.
Again, Ryan is slow to respond and just keeps saying “I don’t know” a lot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 8:41 to 9:09
Now, all of a sudden he’s talking about someone named Christina. In the video, you can see the detective sort of rummaging through the paperwork, trying to see if there is a mention of this Christina person anywhere in the case notes. Ryan says that Heather was giving Christina a head – and then stumbles to correct and say that she was helping her with her hair. Dalton tries again to get some information about what went on the night before in Ryan’s house.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 11:15 to 12:23
You can hear the frustration mounting in Ryan’s voice and he just sounds completely miserable. Why would he be acting like this? How could he not remember anything from the past couple of nights? Did he really get hit so hard to give him a concussion and affect his memory? Ryan continues to just say he doesn’t know and that he wants to go to sleep. At one point tells the detective that Heather was someone else’s girlfriend and not his, but then corrects himself and says that she is his girlfriend. Nothing he says is making sense. He even starts saying that Alicia was the one that gave him the injury to his eye, and not Heather as he had mentioned before.
Amber: With how confused Ryan has been and all the strange things he had been saying to the detective, it sort of seemed as if he wasn’t truly aware of what happened. He had been found in the house with Heather, dead on the couch, but when the detective mentions this, surprise is evident in his voice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 15:12 to 15:37
Once this revelation comes out, Ryan starts talking again, but this time about some new people in the story. He says that there were some people that came over to his house last night (Christmas night), a guy named Richie, and his dad. When they got there, they started shooting arrows and hit him and Heather with them.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 16:20 to 17:23
Ryan still sounds out of it, but now claiming that a man named Richie and his dad came to his apartment and shot him and Heather with revolvers. The more Ryan talks, the more unbelievable the story is getting. Then he drops a bomb on the detective:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 17:46 to 22:36
Let what Ryan told the detective sink in for a moment. Ryan has finally started to make a little more sense, yet anything he’s saying still doesn’t 100% make sense. The detective clearly doesn’t believe that Ryan has been shot in the face, because if he had, what are the chances that Ryan would be sitting there having a conversation with him? The rest of the interrogation is heartbreaking to watch. Ryan is still struggling to get the information straight because he then starts saying that Heather’s dad came to the house and shot her. Richie and his dad were not related to Heather at all. As further proof that Dalton does not believe Ryan’s story, he point-blank asks him why he shot Heather. Ryan swears he didn’t, and that her brother, Richie did. Finally, almost an hour after the interrogation started and Ryan had just been left sitting there, Dalton decides to check out Ryan’s wounds a little closer.
Gina: He gets closer to Ryan’s face and turns his head back and forth to check out the wounds on his nose and his black eye, and Ryan tells him that his head hurts. Detective Dalton closes up his paperwork, stands, and tells Ryan that he’ll be right back. A few moments go by and Dalton returns, telling Ryan that he’s going to be taken to the hospital to get checked out. While they’re waiting for the paramedics to arrive, Ryan reiterates his story about the shooting, saying that he thinks he only got shot once in the eye.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c_lmx4LdNw 26:22 to 26:41
It sounds like the detective is telling the paramedics that they’re not going to believe it, and then points out what he believes to be entry and exit wounds on Ryan’s face – even stating that he had been behaving as if he had a serious head injury. Um, you freaking think so?!
Amber: Over 6 hours had passed since the authorities picked up Ryan and he went without medical treatment. Ryan was taken to the hospital where he was sent to ICU in critical condition. He actually literally had been shot in the face. The bullet had entered through the left side of his face and traveled to his left temporal lobe. A bullet splinter was stuck behind his left eye and caused brain swelling. Additional damage was caused by a piece of bone lodged in his brain along with fragments of his eye socket. Turns out he also had a broken jaw from being tackled to the ground by the police during the arrest. Unfortunately, due to the delay in Ryan receiving medical treatment, he suffered an infection in his brain that prevented him from undergoing immediate surgery to remove the bullet. Finally, on December 28, 2006, he was able to have the operation once the infection was controlled. He spent 35 days in the hospital recovering. Even though he survived, he permanently lost his left eye and experienced debilitating seizures afterward. “He was like somebody with Alzheimer’s. He would tell you the same story over and over again or he asked the same question over and over again. He had the worst seizures that you could ever imagine,” his father, Don said.
Gina: So who were the assholes responsible for taking Heather Quan’s life and attempting to end Ryan’s? Since Ryan had been able to identify them, Richie Carver was arrested first. Some reports circulated originally that the shooting was a result of a previous armed altercation between Richie and Ryan. More recently it has come to light that there was no personal connection between Richie and Ryan and they had never been roommates as the police previously thought. Richie had in fact been a previous tenant of the house Ryan and Heather lived in, but he had been kicked out of the house by his roommate, Eric when they had an argument. Once Richie moved out, Ryan moved in and was Eric’s roommate for a time before Eric moved out, and Heather moved in. Ryan and Richie’s paths had only crossed twice before: once when Richie showed up at the house looking for his mail, and a second time when he was caught snooping in the backyard searching for his iguana. Larry Carver, Richie’s father, fled immediately to California after the crime happened taking the 0.22 caliber gun with him. After Larry and Richie were arrested, Larry’s wife, Cheryl, gave an interview to the detectives and she confirmed that they had left on December 25, 2006, to retrieve Richie’s belongings from his previous home. She also claimed that Larry confessed to the murders after returning home saying: “I’ve just f-ed up, I killed two people, and I gotta get out of here.”
Amber: Unfortunately, shortly before the murder trial for Richie and Larry was to begin, Cheryl recanted her statement and claimed she didn’t remember Larry’s confession. She even said she lied to the detectives about the incident out of spite for Larry over their “very rocky relationship.” Frustratingly, this meant that Larry’s case was dismissed as the main evidence they had to go by was based on the confessions made to Cheryl. He was acquitted after Cheryl invoked her spousal testimonial privilege and refused to testify against him. What is spousal testimonial privilege? In criminal cases, the spouse of a criminal defendant who is called as a witness by the prosecution may choose to testify but cannot be compelled to testify against his or her spouse about events that occurred before and during the marriage. Richie Carver, on the other hand, was no stranger to trouble as he had numerous assault and domestic violence charges on his record and he had already served a four-year prison term for armed robbery. He was convicted of felony murder, burglary, aggravated assault, and misconduct involving weapons. He ended up eventually confessing to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in June 2008.
Gina: Since only one of the monsters responsible for Heather Quan’s death was paying for his crime, Heather’s family appealed to the legislature to amend the spousal privilege, and the amended provision became known as “Heather’s Law” in Arizona. Heather’s Law amended the marital privilege statute to compel a defendant’s spouse to testify by providing an exception to the privilege if one spouse voluntarily provides police with information about the other spouse’s involvement in a serious crime. After a legal battle over whether or not the law could be applied retroactively to Larry’s case, the court ruled in favor of the state, and Larry Carver was reindicted in November 2011 on first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, burglary, and aggravated assault. After a 10-day trial, the jury deliberated for two and a half days before reaching a verdict of guilty on all counts. Larry was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole on January 25, 2013. According to a Facebook post shared by Ryan’s father, Don, Larry Carver passed away in prison on June 30, 2023. “I am excited to say that one of the 2 men who murdered Ryan and Heather has finished serving his life sentence!! Larry Carver rotted away like the piece of garbage he was. Now he has met his maker!” he said.
Amber: Throughout researching this case, there have been some things that have popped up that were conflicting. When did the attack actually happen? According to Ryan’s family, he had spent the day of December 23, 2006, with them helping them remodel the bathroom. Heather and Ryan’s roommate, Alicia, also testified that the attack happened on Christmas night. Even Heather’s obituary and headstone list her date of death as 12/25/2006. Ryan’s surgeon said that his wound was fresh and it had no signs of being a two-day-old injury but the police report tries to claim that the attack happened two days before on December 23, 2006. Why would this be? Well, some believe the police did this to remove some of the focus off their delay to provide Ryan with medical care. Detective Dalton was also incriminated for tampering with evidence, but he received zero repercussions. Ryan’s family sued the Phoenix Police Department for $15 million dollars for mishandling Ryan and Heather’s case. Four years of preparation went into the suit, but unfortunately, just a few weeks before the trial date, the case was just… dismissed. The City of Phoenix filed a “Motion for Dismissal” with the court on the basis that an evaluation from a “brain expert” stated that the delay in Ryan’s medical treatment would have made no difference to the extent of his injuries – he would have sustained the same injuries even without the delay in medical treatment, so the judge dismissed the lawsuit. Ryan’s family disagrees. “[The brain surgeon] would have testified that when a brain is bleeding, it is swelling and when it is swelling, catastrophic damage is being done, so every minute was critical,” Don Waller said. Today, Ryan’s family still hopes for word about the injustice to reach more of the public and to hopefully gain enough exposure and pressure to get the case reopened against the Phoenix Police Department. Ryan moved back in with his parents so they could help care for him. He suffered regular injuries due to his seizures and on January 20, 2016, Don shared that his son had passed away as a result of one of his seizures.
Gina: [Closing thoughts here]
Amber: Thankfully, in the end, the people ultimately responsible for the death of Heather Quan and the attempted murder of Ryan Waller were held accountable. That still doesn’t change the fact that Ryan endured an unspeakable hell while in police custody. If you take a look at the photos of Ryan’s face the police took, it is very apparent that there are GUNSHOT wounds on his face. Regardless of suspicion of guilt, medical treatment should have been rendered immediately before he was forced to sit in a police cruiser for four hours. I spiraled down the rabbit hole with this story too so tell me, what did you think?
Gina: Thank you for being a part of our little creepy corner of chaos and be sure to join us again next week for another What the Fuck Wednesday!
Amber: Who knows what we’ll be talking about this time? At least stupidity is in abundance when it comes to the lighter side of true crime so we’ll happily deliver.
Until next time, stay safe – and make good choices – byeeeeeee………. Byebye.
The Unbelievable Case of Ryan Waller and Heather Quan
Interrogators are responsible for the task of determining what happened and who is at fault when a crime is committed. When the dead body of 21-year-old Heather Quan is discovered, they immediately suspect her 18-year-old injured but alive boyfriend, Ryan Waller. Join us as we go over the unbelievable details of Ryan’s interrogation and uncover the truth of what happened to Heather.
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