Birth mother reunited with 16-year-old daughter then tortured, killed, and burned her remains

KwakMin-jung 기자 Posted : 2017-08-25 16:52 Updated : 2017-08-25 16:52
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Savannah Leckie (left) and Rebecca Ruud (right) look happy in the photo. [Courtesy of Rebecca Ruud / Facebook ]

Savannah Leckie, a 16-year-old girl, finally reunited with her birth mother, Rebecca Ruud, a 39-year-old woman from Missouri. Leckie was given up for adoption at birth. She was adopted by a couple in Minnesota. However, after the adoptive parents divorced, Leckie did not get along well with her adoptive mom's new boyfriend. The teen had Asperger's syndrome and depression. Then the mom who was the only mom Leckie knew contacted her birth mother and asked if she would be willing to take her daughter back.

Ruud was was in a better place than 16 years ago "agreed to take Savannah back and she was delivered to Ruud in Ozark County", according to a sheriff deputy working on the case.

The 39-year-old who was a truck driver and volunteer firefighter announced on her Facebook she opened a soap business named Hidden Holler Farm with her daughter in her 81-acre farm in Theodosia, Missouri.

Leckie who needed extra care and guidance had a hard time adapting to her new life on the farm. Irritated Ruud wrote to Leckie's adoptive mother, "It's to the point that I either need more help to care for her, or I can do nothing with her", a few weeks prior to the teen's disappearance. 

On July 18, 2017, Ruud reported a fire on her property. When firefighters responded and tamed the fire, Ruud refused to give them water the requested to quench their thirst, excusing her behavior on her daughter who was deeply in sleep. The firefighters noticed that Ruud did not let anyone near a camper where Leckie had been living in. 

A couple day after the incident, Ruud reported her daughter missing. She claimed her daughter ran away because she blamed "herself for the fire."

An extensive search was ensued to find the teen to no avail. When all the search did not lead anywhere, investigators began to get suspicious.

Ruud asked a strange favor to a technician working in the nearby fire department. She asked him to examine her daughter's computer. Then on the same day, her ex-boyfriend told the investigators that he had seen Ruud forcing Leckie to roll around in a hog pen and to bathe in a muddy pond. 

Rebecca Ruud (right) and her husband, Robert E. Peat Jr. (left)[Courtesy of Rebecca Ruud / Facebook ]

Ruud and her then-boyfriend Robert E. Peat Jr. Started to become less cooperative. In an interview at the sheriff's office, Ruud confessed that she made her daughter do what her ex-boyfriend claimed and performed other severe punishment on Leckie.

The deputies returned to the property on August 4 with a search warrant and a K-9 unit. Soon after the authorities arrived to comb through Ruud's farm, Ruud and her boyfriend left quickly and got married at a location 100 miles away.

Meanwhile, the investigators found a burn site where they found human bone fragments. The find was enough to grant a second search warrant. When the authorities returned to the property on August 9, they found more pieces of evidence: the teen's clothing, hair, a knife, a meat grinder, and bottle of lye. 

As the investigators were examining the newly seized evidence, they learned that Ruud and her new husband were planning to leave the state. The authorities requested for an arrest warrant this week and arrested Ruud at the Greyhound bus station in Springfield, Missouri on Tuesday.

[Courtesy of Ozark County Sheriff's Office]

Rebecca Ruud is charged with the first- and second-degree murder, abuse of a child resulting in death, tampering with evidence and abandonment of a corpse. The authorities investigating the case are trying to determine the role Ruud's new husband, Robert Peat Jr. played in the murder of Savannah Leckie. 

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