Ozark woman charged with murdering her 16-year-old daughter

A Southwest Missouri woman is accused of killing her teenage daughter, a 16-year-old with autism who she had given up for adoption as an infant.

Authorities say the Savannah Leckie’s remains were found in a burn bit in rural Southwest Missouri just a few weeks after the girl had moved back from Minnesota, where she was raised.

Court documents say Rebecca Ruud, 39, faces first-degree murder charges, abuse of a child resulting in death and second-degree felony murder, tampering with physical evidence, and abandoning a corpse, according to Ozark County Prosecutor John Garrabrant. Sheriff Darrin Reed said the investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.

The probable cause statement says Ruud reported a fire on July 18 in Theodosia, near the Arkansas border.

She later filed a missing person report with authorities, claiming Savannah had run away. However, during a search of the property, authorities found human teeth, a meat grinder, a knife, and 26 bottles of lye. Bone fragments were also found in the surrounding area.



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