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Bench trial set in March 2022 for Ozark County woman charged in death of her daughter

 Rebecca Rudd-Peate/Ozark County Jail
Rebecca Rudd-Peate/Ozark County Jail (KY3)
Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 3:49 PM CST
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OZARK COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - A bench trial is set for an Ozark County woman facing criminal charges in the death of her daughter more than four years ago.

Rebecca Ruud, arrested in July 2017 in the death of her daughter Savannah Leckie, faces several criminal charges. Prosecutors have charged her with first-degree and second-degree murder, abuse or neglect of a child, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.

A bench trial has been set for March 7, 2022 in the case. Ruud was supposed to go on trial this past May. However, attorneys raised a question about a recording in which prosecutors say she admits to some of the crimes to a third party.

Investigators say Leckie disappeared in Ozark County in July 2017. When she was first reported missing, Ruud told everyone she thought her daughter ran away. Volunteers in the Theodosia area spent several days searching for Leckie.

After searching for several weeks, investigators found human remains, consisting of bones and teeth in a burn pile on the property of Ruud. Investigators used dental records and other evidence to confirm the remains belonged to Leckie.

Leckie was adopted to a family in Minnesota at birth, but maintained periodic contact with her biological mother, Rebecca Ruud. According to court records, Ruud was told Savannah could not get along with her adoptive mom’s new boyfriend, so she came to live with Ruud in Ozark County.

The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled against Ruud’s fight to suppress a recording entered as evidence. The bench trial is expected to take place in Greene County.

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