Savannah Leckie, age 16, was tortured and murdered by her mother, Rebecca Ruud. Ruud’s partner, Robert E. Peat Jr., has not been charged in conjunction with her murder. Savannah was homeschooled.
Savannah was given up for adoption at birth in 2001 and raised by adoptive parents Tamile Montague and David Leckie in Minnesota. She had “a mild form of autism as well as depression and ADHD.” In 2016, after Savannah’s adoptive parents divorced, Montague’s new boyfriend, Cary Steeves, did not get along with Savannah, so Montague sent Savannah back to live with Ruud, her biological mother. After Savannah moved in with Ruud, she was homeschooled and “had almost no social contacts.” Ruud abused Savannah, smashing her phone to isolate her, forcing her to roll in the pig pen and bathe in muddy pond water, and pouring alcohol and salt into a wound on Savannah’s arm to punish her.
Sometime in mid-July, Ruud murdered Savannah and attempted to dispose of her body using a meat grinder and lye from her soap making business. On July 18 firefighters were called to her property to put out a brush fire and treat Ruud for burns. Ruud claimed Savannah was also burned in the fire but would not allow firefighters to see her. Two days later, Ruud reported that Savannah had run away. Police searched for Savannah for several weeks before bringing cadaver dogs to Ruud’s property on August 4 and discovering Savannah’s remains at the site of the fire. Ruud was charged with murder.
Date: July 18, 2017
Location: Ozark County, Missouri