A Missouri mother who had given her daughter up for adoption as a baby has been charged in girl’s murder after human remains were found on her property. Rebecca Ruud 39 years old was arrested Saturday trying to board a Greyhound bus to Kansas City. She was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and other counts related to case. According to a probable cause statement, on July 18 Ruud reported that there had been a fire at her Theodosia home. When officials arrived, Ruud told she and her 16 years old daughter, Savannah Leckie, had been injured and showed authorities to a fire on a hilltop near her property. Ruud showed authorities a burn on her arm, but wouldn’t let them see Savannah or go near her home. At one point, Ruud allegedly said officers that the teen “was fine” and taking a shower. She later told Savannah was naked and lying down to cool off.



According to document, authorities never saw Savannah on the day fire was reported. 2 days later, Ruud called police again. This time saying them Savannah had run away. “I had a fire two days ago, Savannah is blaming herself for the fire. I got burnt. I think that’s why she ran way” the mom said to the police. During several searches of Ruud’s property, investigators found burned human remains in a pit. Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed told a forensic analysis identified remains as Savannah’s. Searches also turned up bone fragments, intact human finger bones, several teeth and a large bone that appeared to be a vertebra. During an August 4 search of Ruud’s property, authorities told Ruud and her boyfriend, Robert Peat Jr, left to get married. According to police, Savannah was adopted as a baby by Tamile Leckie-Montague and lived most of her life in Minnesota. Teen was described as having high-functioning autism. Last November, Leckie Montague and Ruud agreed that Savannah would live with Ruud because Savannah could not get along with her adoptive mother’s fiancé, Cary Steeves. Steeves said that Leckie Montague last spoke to Savannah on June 3, teen’s birthday and did not notice any “red flags.” Leckie Montague said to the investigators that Ruud often complained about Savannah and how much time and money it took to care for the teen. Investigators were also said by Ruud’s ex boyfriend that Ruud would punish Savannah by making her crawl through hog pens. Ruud said to the police that was true, adding that her daughter would cut herself and as punishment she would pour alcohol and salt in the wounds twice a day. Ruud is currently being held at Ozark County Jail without bond. Reed told that charges would be filed against “any individual that was involved in aiding or tampering” with the investigation.


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