Prosecutors charged a Missouri woman with murder on Tuesday after the remains of her 16-year-old birth daughter were found in a burn pit on her property.
Rebecca Ruud, 39, is facing counts of first-degree murder, abuse of a child resulting in death, second-degree murder and felony murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandoning a corpse. Investigators searched her property after her birth daughter Savannah Leckie, who was raised by adoptive parents and who had just recently reunited with Ruud, was reported missing.
After searching the property, police located teeth, human bone fragments, a meat grinder, a knife and 26 bottles of lye, which can be used to accelerate the breakdown of bodily tissue, on the day Ruud married her current husband this month. Using dental records, investigators were able to confirm the identity of the remains and matched them to Leckie.
Ruud’s then-boyfriend told investigators that he witnessed her force Leckie to crawl through a hog pen and then bathe in a pond as punishment.
Leckie was adopted at birth, but maintained in occasional contact with Ruud. After her adoptive parents divorced, she had a tough time getting along with her mother’s new boyfriend and was sent to live with Ruud in November of 2016.