THEODOSIA, Mo. (AP) – (UPDATED 3:15 p.m.) Prosecutors have brought murder charges against the biological mother of a 16-year-old girl whose burned remains were found on their rural Missouri property.
Ozark County Prosecutor John Garrabrant says Rebecca Ruud was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and other counts in the killing of Savannah Leckie, who was reported missing in July.
Investigators say Savannah was raised by an adoptive mother in Minnesota but had gone to live with her biological mother in Theodosia within the last year.
Bone fragments identified as the teenager’s were found in a burn pile on the rural property where she lived with Ruud and Ruud’s boyfriend, whom Ruud married earlier this month.
Ruud is being held in the Ozark County jail.
Investigators who searched a rural Missouri property for a missing 16-year-old girl in early August recovered a meat grinder, bone fragments and 26 bottles of lye, which can be used to accelerate the breakdown of bodily tissue.
The items were found during a search for Savannah Leckie, who was reported missing in late July. Her burned remains were found at the home of her biological mother and the woman’s husband. The remains were identified Monday.
Investigators say Savannah was raised by her adoptive mother in Minnesota, but had gone to live with her biological mother within the last year.
Search warrants filed by investigators say they also found a box of girl’s clothing, hair, a knife and notebooks and personal hygiene items.
During a search of the property Aug. 4, investigators found bone fragments on a burn pile on the property, including what appeared to be fragments from a human finger and a vertebrae.
Authorities say the biological mother of a 16-year-old girl whose burned remains were found in rural Missouri is jailed on a 24-hour investigative hold.
The jail administrator in Ozark County says the woman was taken into custody at 3 p.m. Monday but not arrested. No charges have been filed.
The public defender’s office in a nearby county was meeting with the mother. The office didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed announced Monday that burned bones found near the woman’s property were those of Savannah Leckie, who was raised by her adoptive family in Minnesota. In a statement Tuesday, Reed says the investigation has “intensified” and that arrests are expected.
Savannah was living in Longrun, Missouri, with her biological mother and the woman’s boyfriend before she disappeared in late July. The mother and boyfriend wed on Aug. 4, the same day the remains were found.
Authorities have confirmed that burned human bones found on a rural southwest Missouri property are those of a missing 16-year-old girl.
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed said Monday that the remains were identified as those of 16-year-old Savannah Leckie. The teen was reported missing in late July from her home in Longrun, Mo., where she lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend.
A search warrant says Leckie grew up with her adoptive mother in Minnesota but had resumed living with her biological mother within the last year.
The Ozark Radio Network reports that items taken during a search of the home and surrounding area included a meat grinder, a knife and 26 bottles of lye, which can be used to accelerate the breakdown of bodily tissue.
No criminal charges had been filed as of Tuesday morning.
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