Ozark, CO. -- (9/7/17) A special grand jury convened Tuesday in the Ozark County Courthouse to investigate the suspected murder of Savannah Leckie, the 16-year-old girl whose burned remains were found earlier this month on an 81-acre farm near Theodosia owned by her biological mother, Rebecca Ruud. Ozark County prosecuting attorney John Garrabrant filed the request with 44th Judicial Circuit Judge Craig Carter Aug. 23, to convene the grand jury, and the next day Carter ordered Associate Judge Cynthia MacPherson to empanel and preside over the grand jury beginning Sept. 5. Fifty summonses were issued to potential jurors; from that pool MacPherson was to select 12 grand jurors.
Carter’s order to convene the grand jury doesn’t mention Ruud by name, but it is believed that the purpose of the newly summoned grand jury is to look into the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Savannah, whom Ruud reported missing July 20. The girl had been adopted soon after birth and grew up in Minnesota with occasional contact with her birth mother. In 2016, she moved to Ozark County to live with Ruud.
The Ozark County Sheriff’s Office, aided by other agencies, immediately began a search for Savannah. During its investigation, which grew to include other agencies, cadaver dogs and forensics experts, charred human remains were found in a brush pile 400 yards from the metal building where Ruud lived with her boyfriend, Robert Peat Jr., whom she married the same day the remains were found. The remains have since been identified as Savannah’s.
Ruud was arrested Aug. 21 at a Springfield bus station, where she had bought a bus ticket for Kansas City, according to court documents. Peat, who has not been charged, also purchased a bus ticket the same day for Memphis, Tennessee. It was thought that he had left the state, but he was in the courtroom on Aug. 28 when Ruud was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, abuse of a child resulting in death, tampering with evidence and abandoning a corpse. Ruud is being held without bond in the Ozark County Jail; her next court appearance is a preliminary hearing set for Oct. 5-6.
The last time an Ozark County grand jury convened was at the request of then-prosecutor Tom Cline in 2010. That grand jury handed down 18 indictments to six Ozark County residents stemming from a series of burglaries in the Wasola, Almartha, Brixey and Longrun areas. Grand jury proceedings are closed to the public and to the media.
Source: Ozark County Times